Aston Villa v Manchester United 2–3
English Premier League: Aston Villa V Manchester United 2–3. Referee: Kevin Friend. Attendance: 40,500.
Manchester United came from being two goals down to edge out Paul Lambert´s Aston Villa team by 3–2 at Villa Park on Saturday evening. The victory means that Sir Alex Ferguson’s troops now top the Barclays Premier League table, three points clear of second placed Chelsea and two clear of cross-town adversaries Manchester City.
Despite dominating possession for most of the first period, Manchester United struggled to break down a hard working and well organised Aston Villa defence. The Claret and Blue gradually fought their way into the contest, and it was the home team who scored the opening goal of the game when Christian Benteke delivered a precise pass to his fellow frontrunner Andreas Weimann, who slammed an unstoppable sixteen-yard effort behind Manchester United net custodian David De Gea to provide the hosts with the lead in the 45th minute of action.
Five minutes into the second period, the same player registered his second goal of the encounter as he converted a dangerous low cross from Three Lions international Gabriel Agbonlahor. Super substitute Javier Hernandez halved the deficit for Manchester United in the 58th minute of the play, however, when the natural born goal plunderer received a beautifully timed long ball from midfield stalwart Paul Scholes, and managed to nutmeg former Chivas USA shot stopper Brad Guzan in the process. A mere five minutes later, Chicharito’s youthful bravado surfaced again, with his powerful drive deflecting off unfortunate Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar and into the back of the net.
The equaliser made the Manchester United players more determined than ever, and Holland attacker Robin van Persie had two attempts hit the crossbar inside a minute. With just two minutes remaining in the clash, Hernandez eventually recorded the winning goal, as the well-positioned striker dived to head an accurately taken free-kick from Van Persie into the bottom-right to make it 3–2 to Manchester United.
Aston Villa Starting Lineup: Brad Guzan, Matthew Lowton, Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark, Enda Stevens, Andreas Weimann, Ashley Westwood, Stephen Ireland, Barry Bannan, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke Liolo. Substitutes: Karim El Ahmadi, Brett Holman, Fabian Delph, Shay Given.
Manchester United Starting Lineup: David de Gea, Chris Smalling, Rafael, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Valencia, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ashley Young, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney. Substitutes: Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley, Oliveira Anderson, Danny Welbeck, Alexander Buttner, Anders Lindegaard.