Aston Villa have had an indifferent start to the season. Even though they were unbeaten until the trip to Manchester City, they have had a lot of draws this season, and as a result, they find themselves only seven points about the drop zone.

The situation would be extremely misleading if you take the league positions into account because they lie in the eighth place just below Arsenal. However, performances have been pretty poor this season with the team struggling to score goals on a regular basis. The departure of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing has definitely had an impact, but it falls down to new manager Alex McLeish to sort it out.

So far, he does not seem to have done it. However, the return of Jermaine Jenas and Barry Bannan to the first-team action will be a most welcome sight for Alex McLeish, not least because of the upcoming trip to Champions Manchester United. Manchester United arrive at Villa Park on the back of the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United and they will be keen to keep up with leaders Manchester City - Villa could be at the wrong end of a backlash. The return of the two influential midfielders, though, does prove to be a great sign for Aston Villa.

Villa could only draw the match against Swansea. Speaking after the match, Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish said taht "it augurs well to have those two back and we now have food for thought for next week. It was great to see Jermaine back in and great to see him out on the pitch in the second half."

McLeish has been criticised for being defensive this season, and it will be interesting to see the formation he elects for the match against Manchester United.