United are enjoying one of their best moments in a difficult season, winning five of their last seven games in all competitions.
A statement victory at Villa would be a fourth on the bounce for the first time this term, with favourable fixtures against Luton Town, Fulham and Nottingham Forest on the horizon.
Ten Hag has only overseen two fewer league wins than Ange Postecoglou at fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur. However, nine losses have left his side in a precarious position.
United’s dreadful form in away matches against teams in the Premier League‘s top eight has heavily contributed to their regression in 2023/24.
The Red Devils have failed to win any of their last 15 away games against opposition starting the day among the top eight.
Eleven of those matches have ended in defeat, with four of them draws, in a problematic run that started when Michael Carrick managed a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in November 2021.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford were on the scoresheet to give Solskjaer hope that he could reverse the Old Trafford giants’ fortunes.
However, it wasn’t too mean a feat, considering Nuno Espirito Santo was enduring just as disappointing a season and was sacked by Spurs two days later.
An underwhelming Champions League draw at Atalanta before 2-0 and 4-1 league defeats to Manchester City and Watford, respectively, sealed Solskjaer’s fate.
In terms of United’s away record at the Premier League‘s clubs challenging for European spots, Ten Hag has been unable to improve things.
United play Villa at a good time, though. Unai Emery’s men were unbeaten at home all season before losing 3-1 against Newcastle United at the end of January.
Chelsea won at Villa Park by the same scoreline in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay, condemning the Villains to just one win in their last five games in all competitions.
Ten Hag must continue United’s recent flurry of positive results to convince INEOS to stick with him for a third year. Ending this away hoodoo against direct rivals would overcome a huge hurdle.