Manchester United have secured a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa this afternoon thanks to Marcus Rashford’s winner.
As expected, Man United began the game on the front foot, pushing Villa back into their half of the pitch. However, Louis van Gaal’s side struggled to create any real opportunities of note at Old Trafford. That was until the 32nd minute, when Marcus Rashford was in the right place at the right time to finish off Antonio Valencia’s cross.
After the break, Rashford might have won a penalty for his side when Alan Hutton barged in on him inside the box but the youngster stayed on his feet. Juan Mata then stung the hands of Brad Guzan following a swiftly taken corner. Villa looked toothless for the majority of the contest but Rudy Gestede hit the post late on to give United a nervy last few minutes. As it happened, the hosts managed to see out the three points.
United’s captain, fit again following injury, made his first start since February after featuring for the U21s this week.
And it was Rooney who started the move for Rashford’s goal as he sprayed the ball out wide to Valencia with a long-range pass. Rooney’s vision gave United an extra dimension at Old Trafford and he would have been pleased to get through a relatively comfortable afternoon’s work before he was substituted for Jesse Lingard after 66 minutes.
Rashford’s excellent week continued as he added another goal to his collection – his seventh in 12 games.
The 18-year-old showed good movement in the box to work himself some space before clinically firing home Valencia’s low cross. Rashford cannot stop scoring right now and the calls for him to go to the European Championships with England this summer, previously ridiculed, are all of a sudden starting to look not so farfetched.
Memphis has been firmly on the periphery of things in recent months but van Gaal gave him a chance to show what he can do against Villa.
The Dutchman was quiet in the first half but he seemed to find his feet in the second. On the left hand side of the pitch, Memphis ran at his man and looked to make things happen. Will it be enough to keep him in the side?
Top four hopes stay alive
Villa were awful, save for a brief period late on, but United kept themselves in the race for the top four with the win.
The FA Cup has been a welcome distraction for United but van Gaal will live and die on whether he can secure Champions League qualification. You get the sense that his side will need to win every game between now and the end of the season to stand a chance.