ASTON VILLA 2 – 3 MANCHESTER UNITED
Andreas Weimann (45+1, 90) Javier Hernandez – 58,87
Ron Vlaar (OG) – 63
VENUE – Villa Park
REFREEE – Kevin Friend (Leicestershire )
Ole Gunner Solskjaer was nicknamed the “Super Sub” for his ability to turnaround matches for Manchester United. The Baby faced Assassin they called him. Years later a young Mexican has taken his place. Javier Hernandez is the name. United was 2-0 down at one stage of the game and it Hernandez who started and ended the scoring in the match. Villa had taken a deserved lead before the break when Weimann scored a scorcher which whizzed past De Gea before he could react. The home side doubled their lead at the start of the second through the same man. Scholes gave the ball away deep in the Villa half and Weimann made United pay. The home support was ecstatic and sensed a victory after 16 long years. Javier Hernandez though had different plans. He started the comeback with a cute little finish between the goalkeeper’s legs for his first. The second one was a dubious one with Rafael cross met by Hernandez. His shot was deflected in my Ron Vlaar and just like that United were level. Hernandez though, wasn’t done yet. In the ending stages of the game he scored his second and United’s third with a low header from a Persie freekick. The comeback kings had done it again and Villa’s brave young team were left to look back at a memorable performance and a brilliant game of football.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, Weimann, Westwood, Ireland, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs: Given, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Williams.
Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young, Rooney, van Persie. Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Cleverley, Fletcher, Buttner.
Aston Villa – Paul Lambert made just one change from the side that defeated Sunderland last weekend. Edna Stevens comes in for an injured Joe Bennett. Guzan, who has kept the experienced Shay Given out of the team, keeps his position in goal. Vlaar and Clark start in the middle of defense with Lowton and Stevens starting behind the wingers. Lambert starts with a very attack minded front six. Benteke, Agbanlahor spearhead the attack with Bannan and Weimann starting on the wings. Both the wingers are better offensively than defensively and it shows a clear intent on Lambert’s side. Stephan Ireland, former Manchester City man who had a torrid time last season starts with Westwood in the middle of the park to combat the attacking threat of United.
Manchester United– Sir Alex Ferguson resisted the temptation to rest key members of the squad against a struggling Villa side and put out a strong lineup. The Scot starts the game with an attacking 4-42 attacking formation with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie starting upfront. Scholes and Carrick start in the middle of the park with the returning Ashley Young and the Ecuadorian Antonio Valencia supporting from the wings. Chris Smalling, who returned from a long layoff in the Champions League starts alongside the experienced Rio Ferdinand. Jonny Evans and Nani were ruled out of this game after picking up knocks against Braga. Rafael and Evra as expected starts on the full back positions with the Spaniard David de Gea starting in goal.
Before the match started everyone at the ground observed a minute’s silence for the martyrs of conflicts around the world. The home team started with a fluid formation and not a 4-4-2 formation. Bannan, Weimann and sharing the midfield space with Agbanlahor and Ireland in a free role behind the Belgian Benteke. The visitors had a ridiculous amount of possession in the opening minutes without putting the home side in any sort of trouble. This was a very young Villa team and they took time to settle in the match. For all the possession United had early it was Villa who created the better chances. Their first attack of the game saw Ashley Young making a brilliant last ditch clearance to stop Benteke from scoring. The young Villa side was brilliant on the counter attack. Several times in the first half, United were caught in possession and Villa nearly made them pay. Carrick’s casual attitude nearly gave Ireland the perfect opportunity to give his team the lead but he dragged his shot wide. United were still dominating possession but their final ball was poor just like it was in midweek. Valencia and Rafael both saw a lot of the ball on the right but their final cross was way off the mark. Villa was enjoying the game a lot more and they stuffed the life out of United. The visitors with all their world class players were struggling to find a way through the sturdy Villa organization. In the dying moments of the first half Weimann gave his team a deserved lead. Benteke outmuscled Smalling on the left and set the ball perfectly for the midfielder to send in a thundering shot which was past the United keeper before he could react. The half ended with the home side leading 1-0.
Ashley Young who was poor in the first half was duly taken off before the start of the second half with Javier Hernandez. United were a bit more incisive in their passing and had a couple of chances before Villa doubled their lead. Paul Scholes, gave away the ball in the Villa half. The ball reached Ireland who slid in Agbanlahor who low cross set up a tap in for the Weimann to double his tally. United were at sixes and sevens at the back and Villa Park was in dreamland. The visitors were stung into action and produced an immediate response. Scholes played in a wonderful ball to Hernandez who couldn’t sort his feet at first and yet managed to squeeze the ball between the keeper’s legs to cut the deficit and bring United back in it. Manchester United started to dominate the game as they looked for the equalizer. Villa nearly made it 3-1 when Bannan brilliant cross was headed superbly by Weimann only to be denied by a good save from De Gea. Robin van Persie who was a peripheral figure for most of the match hit the post twice in under a minute. First from a Rooney corner he thumped a header against the crossbar. Moments later he again rattled the same spot with a beautiful left footed curler. It was only a matter of time before United scored.
The equalizer came on the 62nd minute mark and again Hernandez was the end of it. Rafael’s cross was met by Hernandez whose shot took a massive deflection off Vlaar and ended up in the back of the net. It was a bit harsh on Villa but the visitors were level. There was only going to be one result now. In the 87th minute Hernandez scored the winner from a Persie free kick and the comeback kings did it again. Villa Park was in silence. Manchester United may have won the match but Aston Villa was definitely the better team. The young brigade will go a long way and Paul Lambert has a talented young squad on his hands.
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