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Monday 10 December 2012

Barclays U21s: Villa and United vie for Elite spot

A preview of Monday's action in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League

Villa's Graham Burke will lead the line against Manchester United

Competition for qualification for the Elite Group Stage of the Barclays U21 Premier League is tight in Group 2 with four teams vying for the two automatic qualifying places.

Aston Villa and Manchester United could seal a qualifying place with victory when they meet at Hinckley United FC this evening. Avoiding defeat for second-placed Villa may be enough because they would remain above United with only Southampton able to catch them while overturning an inferior goal difference against Newcastle United next week.

Victory for United in their final match this evening would seal qualification because even if Villa beat Tottenham Hotspur in their final match next week, Manchester United’s superior points tally to Chelsea’s 18 in Group 3 would mean they qualify to the Elite Group Stage as the best-placed third team.

"They are two great games to finish with against Manchester United and Tottenham," Gordon Cowans, the Villa Under-21 coach, told the Villa website. "It is important to get the win in the position we are in because we want to try and finish top of the group. We need to win these next two games to do that."

United will be most wary of Villa's Irish strike partnership of Michael Drennan and Graham Burke, who have scored eight goals in the six matches they have played up front together.

Tickets for the match are £3 adults and £1 concessions. More details here.

Spurs are looking for victory away to Sunderland at the Academy of Light this afternoon to improve their chances of finishing the group stage on top. Sunderland could conceivably finish third but would, with one point fewer than Chelsea, not reach the Elite Group Stage starting next year.

Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixtures

Monday, 10 December, 2012

Group 2
Aston Villa v Manchester United, Hinckley United, 7pm
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, Academy of Light, Noon

Monday, 17 December, 2012

Group 1
Norwich City v West Ham United, Colney Training Centre, 1pm

Group 2
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur, Villa Park, 7pm
Southampton v Newcastle United, Eastleigh FC, 7pm

Group 3
Manchester City v Fulham, Hyde FC, 2pm

For all the fixtures and the latest league tables, click here

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

Key Points

  • Four teams fighting for qualification to Elite Group Stage from Group 2
  • Aston Villa travel to Manchester United looking to seal their place
  • Tottenham visit Sunderland hoping to remain top dogs

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