Manchester United notched another comeback victory over Aston Villa in their Premier League fixture on Sunday afternoon. In a game where a loss for United would’ve given City the Premier League title, Ole’s boys persevered to defy Villa’s hardworking defense and earn a victory. Cavani, Bruno, and Greenwood scored in the second half to cancel out Bertrand Traore’s first-half wonder strike, giving United a 3-1 win and maximum points.
While many fans expected Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to rotate the squad heavily, he went with a tried and tested lineup. Dean Henderson returned to the goalkeeper’s spot behind Maguire, Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka, and Shaw. Fred and McTominay were the holding midfielders behind the trio of Pogba, Bruno, and Greenwood with Rashford as the lone striker. Cavani, Mata, van de Beek, Telles, and Matic were among those on the bench.
First Half – Villa the Villans
Manchester United started the game with great desire and intent as they camped in the attacking half looking to get in behind Villa’s backline. United had some chances in the early minutes as Rashford, Pogba, and Shaw combined beautifully on the left-wing on multiple occasions. Shaw also attempted a powerful shot on target but Villa’s Martinez was up to the challenge from the left-back. The subsequent shot from Pogba was also saved comfortably by Martinez. Fred fired a rare on-target shot straight at Martinez as it was all United for the first 10 minutes of the game.
Unfortunately, United’s lack of clinical-ness cost them dearly as Villa grew into the game. The home side soon took the lead through a wonderful strike from Bertrand Traore. In the 23rd minute, Fred and McTominay lost the ball on the edge of the box. This allowed Douglas Luiz to play in Traore. The forward dummied Lindelof and then fired a thundering strike into the top corner from a tight angle. Quite disappointing from Fred and McTominay there and also from Lindelof. Villa were ahead 1-0 and United’s unbeaten away record was in danger. The attackers seemed out of ideas as Villa resorted to a defensive game plan, and their goalkeeper pulled off some good saves. Aston Villa had a great chance to double the lead in the final seconds of the half but Henderson kept them out.
Second Half – Comeback Time
United started off the second half with as much intensity and pace as they started the game and it only took 5 minutes to make a difference. Pogba twisted and turned in the box, drawing a clear foul from Douglas Luiz and winning a penalty. Up stepped Bruno Fernandes and in went the penalty! Game tied, and United smelled blood in the water. And it only took 5 more minutes from there for United to complete the turnaround. Wan-Bisska played a great through pass to Mason on the edge of the box. The youngster spun around Mings and shot into the bottom near post making it 2-1. Excellent movement, excellent turn, and an excellent finish from Mason Greenwood who cannot stop scoring! The attacking players who were all struggling in the first half, came to life in the second.
In the 65th minute, Greenwood was rewarded with some relaxation as he was replaced by Edinson Cavani. Henderson pulled off another great save at the hour-mark, keeping Bertrand Traore out. Cavani too did his defensive duty moments later as he kept a cross away from finding its recipient as Villa piled on some pressure on United’s backline. Unfortunately for United, Harry Maguire picked up an injury and was subbed off in the 78th minute to be replaced by Eric Bailly. That also ended a 72 game streak where Maguire played all 90 minutes of a Premier League game.
Cavani Dagger to Seal Comeback
Ole also brought on Nemanja Matic in place of Bruno to see out the game. The visitors saw out the game with class and comfort thanks to El Matador, Edi Cavani. Multiple shots from Cavani and Shaw cannoned off the defenders and fell to Fred. The Brazilian squared the ball to Rashford who delivered a delicious cross to the far post. Cavani leaped above his marker and glanced the header home giving Martinez absolutely no chance. 3-1! Done and dusted! In the final seconds of the game, Ollie Watkins received a second yellow for simulation and was sent his marching orders capping off a rough evening for Villa, and a good evening for United.
Full-Time Thoughts – Comeback After Comeback After Comeback
The biggest mystery that looms over this team is what Ole says to the boys during his halftime talk. Just in the last month, United have registered comeback wins against Roma, Spurs, Brighton, and now Villa. Mason Greenwood also became the highest-scoring teenager for Manchester United in the Premier League. Hopefully, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Mason’s talent. United showed immense character and grit to pull off this win. They are making a statement of intent not just for this season, but also next.
Unfortunately, Harry Maguire did pick up an injury that will sideline him for a little while. As of now, United fans can simply hope for their captain to be fully fit for the Europa League final. This team has progressed greatly and we have defied expectations to get where we are today. Whether you’re Ole In or Ole Out, you cannot deny that this team backs their manager throughout and the characters in this team can combine to turn us into yet another dominant force that wins trophies every year.