|Javier Hernandez' celebration after scoring his first of the match.|
What a game it turned out to be...
"Chico! Chico! Chico!"
That was the name being chanted by the away fans from Manchester, standing in the North End of Villa Park. As Javier Hernandez once again proved to be vital coming off the bench to inspire Manchester United. United once again, after trailing, brought themselves back to secure the 3 points in typical fashion. This came after a 2 goal deficit early in the second half.
After such a lackluster first half from either team, it was Andreas Weismann who scored the only goal of the first 45 minutes. It arrived after a fast break from The Claret and Blue which saw Christian Benteke use his great strength and agility to jostle past the returning Chris Smalling and cut it back to an open Weismann who certainly had no trouble with a first time finish from 18 yards out leaving De Gea with no chance. This couldn't have been a better way to walk into the rooms at half time.
Despite Chicharito replacing Ashley Young just after the half time break, United were still not switched on, causing them to concede another courtesy of Andreas Weismann for the second time. This goal also appeared in great fashion as Benteke once again contributed after dummying a pass which allowed Stephen Ireland to move the ball to an open left wing where Agbonlahor blazed forward to drill the pass into Weismann for the easiest of tap-ins. Many people might have thought that the Red Devils couldn't earn the 3 points. But that fortunately wasn't the case.
After that second goal, it seemed that the underdogs had woken up the giants. Just 8 minutes later, United finally created a genuine goal scoring opportunity as veteran Paul Scholes, still going strong, lobbed the ball into the path of Hernandez which allowed him to control and finish calmly and sweetly to give the Reds some hope. Chicharito, even before netting a second, showed that he should be on the green grass rather than in the dugouts when the initial whistle is blown.
Following Chicharito's 3rd goal of the Premiership season, United looked like a totally different side to what was seen in the first half. They were attacking much more fluently and obviously, it payed off. In the 63rd minute, Rooney provided a ball to an overlapping Rafael who had delivered a great ball to the brilliantly positioned Hernandez at the back post. His attempt on the volley didn't look pretty but it was all that was needed to put Ron Vlaar off, as he proved to be the own goal scorer after the ball had deflected off his body into the far corner. Unfortunately, this meant that Chicharito couldn't complete a hat-trick.
Robin van Persie, who hadn't received much delivery inside the box well enough to have a shot on goal, finally showed how deadly he really is. A corner which was delivered by Wayne Rooney, was crafted beautifully as it met with van Persie's head only to hid the woodwork. RVP once again, just a minute later, hit the bar. This time, van Persie tried his luck from distance. A spectacular strike from approximately 30 yards out, could've been the winner.
Nonetheless, the winner arrived in the 87th minute. It was United's proclaimed "Super-Sub" Javier Hernandez who utilized the well placed cross of van Persie's direct free kick. The ball delivered by the leading scorer, allowed "The Little Pea" to head the ball into the bottom corner and once again secure 3 points for the 19 time champions.
No credit should be taken away from Aston Villa. To have the spirit they had against Manchester United is very impressive. But it was Sir Alex Ferguson's men, for the 5th time this season, coming back from behind to earn a victory to rightfully accumulate their place as the "Comeback Kings".
3 Things We Learned:
- United continue to struggle in defense as 2 simple goals were conceded.
- Paul Scholes, despite being on the verge of turning 38 in less than a week, showed that he can still control the midfield and contribute majorly.
- You must never rule out United. They have 3 if not 4 world class striker who can hurt a defense at any time.
Manchester United, despite only suffering defeat twice 3 times this season in all competitions, have only been able to maintain a clean sheet 3 times in 17 attempts.
Aston Villa: 4-4-1-1 Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar '63 OG, Clark, Stevens, Weimann '45+1, '50 (Holman), Westwood, Ireland (El Ahmadi), Bannan (Delph), Agbonlahor, Benteke
MAN UNITED: 4-4-1-1 De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes (Cleverley), Young (Chicharito '58, '87), Rooney (Anderson), van Persie