Manchester United had to grind against Aston Villa to eke out three extremely valuable points at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are now level on points with league leaders Liverpool and have asserted their status as title contenders this season.
Manchester United got off to an electric start against Villa tonight. An enterprising run and cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka was directed into goal by Anthony Martial to give the home side the lead in the 40th minute of the game.
Aston Villa showed their class subsequently and kept piling the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men and got the reward for their hard work in the 58th minute of the game as Bertrand Traore sent a Jack Grealish cross home. The move stemmed from a quick free-kick that caught the United defence off guard.
However, Manchester United responded immediately and Paul Pogba won a penalty for the Red Devils three minutes later. Bruno Fernandes smashed the ball past Emiliano Martinez and into the far left corner to restore Manchester United's advantage.
United had a few chances to pull away from there but an otherwise excellent Paul Pogba missed from six yards out to make way for a tense finish to the game. Aston Villa weren't without their chances either and forced Manchester United into a few nervy moments towards the end of the game.
David de Gea made a couple excellent saves off shots from Ollie Watkins and Matty Cash. Tyrone Mings missed a good chance for Dean Smith's side as well. They could have still rained on Manchester United's parade in the very last minute of the game but Keinan Davis' shot from inside the box was blocked by a last-ditch challenge from Eric Bailly.
Is it too early to say that the Red Devils have laid down the marker as far as the Premier League title is concerned? Well, maybe. But the way this season is going, anything is possible.
Twitter Reacts as Manchester United beat Aston Villa at Old Trafford to put pressure on Liverpool
Defence can win you games. Here's an example.
And of course, Eric Bailly was smothered by his teammates at the final whistle.
Aston Villa didn't hold anything back but neither did Eric Bailly.
Paul Pogba was a treat watch today, contributing immensely on both sides of the pitch.
What a time for Anthony Martial to hit his stride.
And here is Mr. Inevitable.
Jack Grealish was all class once again although he ended up on the losing side.
Solskjaer got his men to do a job on Grealish, didn't he?
Manchester United had quite a few standout performers and David de Gea was at his best.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka had received a bit of criticism recently and he responded with a top performance.
One final one for the Manchester United fans.
And when you finally sign up for a title challenge, well...Published 02 Jan 2021, 04:15 IST