Five things we learned as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0
Manchester United kept up the team’s winning record with a victory at Villa Park.
Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba were all on target in the win.
Here is a look at five things we learned from the fixture…
United were lucky early on
Unlike in wins over Sheffield United and Brighton, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side did not start this game particularly well.
It was a slow start and right after the drinks break, United were fortunate not to concede first, when Trezeguet’s low effort evaded David de Gea and hit the post.
Shortly afterwards United were awarded a penalty, when Ezri Konsa felled Bruno Fernandes on the turn.
It was a decision Villa disputed, but it did not change referee Jon Moss’ mind, and Fernandes made no mistake from the spot.
This gave United the lead, but it felt a little fortunate. We had not played well up to this point, and it was a reminder that naming an unchanged team can bring about some elements of fatigue.
After the highs of the wonderful display of attacking football we saw against Bournemouth in the second half, this was a ‘back to reality’ start to the game, a little reminder that it can’t always be perfect all the time.
Once we took the lead, there was no looking back. Villa’s heads dropped, and United made it look easy in the end.
No let up from Greenwood
In a slow first half from United, Mason Greenwood was the biggest threat among our front three.
This paid off with his third shot of the game, in first half stoppage time, when he found space to shoot on the edge of the penalty area.
As soon as his boot struck the ball, you knew he had hit gold. He hit an unstoppable effort so powerfully that goalkeeper Pepe Reina had no chance.
Villa asked for it. You don’t keep giving Greenwood opportunities to shoot and get away with it.
This gave United the cushion we needed heading into half-time, and Greenwood his 16th goal of the season.
He has gone from being United’s third man supporting Rashford and Martial, to being the team’s biggest threat. He has now scored in three successive Premier League games.
Pogba is off the mark
Paul Pogba has been happy to take a back seat when it comes to goalscoring until now.
Now he is up and running, scoring a well placed effort from the edge of the area just before the hour mark.
This was Pogba’s first goal of the season, and really it was only a matter of time before he got in on the act.
He has been excellent since returning, yet still has so much more to give. This will give him even more confidence, if he needed it.
With a sharp Pogba starting to get on the scoresheet, this United team are only going to get better and better.
United set an unlikely Premier League record during this fixture.
As explained by the club’s official website before the match: “United are looking to become the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive matches by a margin of three or more goals.”
While it seems pretty amazing that no team has done this previously, from United’s point of view it is ‘mission accomplished’.
It really says something about the form and confidence that this United team are in right now that we have been able to win games by such big margins.
Earlier in the season it seemed difficult for United to beat teams even by a single goal, let alone win four league games in a row.
Four more to go
United are closing in on top four rivals Leicester City and Chelsea. Our fate is in our own hands.
If we win our four remaining fixtures, including the one on the final day away at Leicester, we will clinch a Champions League place.
Leicester play Bournemouth, Sheffield United and then Tottenham before facing us. Chelsea face Sheffield United at the weekend. The pressure is on.
There is a chance by time we take on Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday night that we could have the opportunity to overtake at least one of them, or both. What an incentive that would be.
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