Home from home. Aston Villa put Manchester United under some real pressure in the first 15 minutes but thanks to a brilliant cross from Rafael, Adnan Januzaj‘s header rebounded off the post for Danny Welbeck to instinctively finish.
He didn’t waste any time when he scored another either after a fine break down the right saw Welbeck fire in a second from a Valencia cross with another brilliant finish. United could have killed the game off before half time if they were more clinical but we came out and played in a similar fashion in the second half.
Neat football from United and a defence splitting ball from Rooney allowed Cleverley the space to finish the move and finish the game as a contest. From then on, it was a case of damage limitation from Villa who struggled to maintain United at all for the whole game.
It was a great performance from the whole team.
That was the United we want to see. Free flowing football, counter attacking, quick build-up and frightening pace going forward – traits we haven’t seen often enough this year from United but traits that were all on show today.
Aston Villa didn’t really have an answer to our momentum and United were indomitable from the first to last whistle.
In a season that has so far seen some very limp performances, it was precisely the sort of showing that both the fans and Moyes needed to inject some confidence back into the veins of a United side who have needed a boost after recent results.
What a difference goals make. Man of the match. Danny Welbeck has endured another frustrating campaign as injuries curtailed his brilliant start to the year against Swansea but on his recall to the starting XI today, he made a real statement with a fantastic brace.
Both goals were instinctive striker finishes that showed Welbeck certainly has the capability of scoring great goals. He got an injection of confidence from the first goal and it helped him put in a fantastic performance for the full 90 minutes including his great second goal from a low Valencia cross.
As Gary Neville aptly described Welbeck once, he is a scorer of great goals but not a great goalscorer. Matches like this are going to help him change that.
Return of Rafael/Valencia partnership. In the 2011/12 Premier League season, the partnership of Rafael and Valencia was the backbone of our title race all year in a season where Valencia was named Player of the Year.
Today against Villa, that partnership returned in full flow and Villa’s right-back Luna will be going loopy after his torrid performance up against Rafael and Valencia.
When on form, they bring the best out of each other and their styles compliment each other with overlapping runs, intricate passing and bundles of energy for the whole 90 minutes.
Having both of these back to their best would be a huge bonus for United.
Time to kick on. We’ve been waiting for a performance in the Premier League like this for a while now. The 5-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen showed that we had the ability to do it but it was a case of making it happen.
United were under real pressure to perform today as anything but three points would have caused a mini crisis, especially in the press, but wee stood up and were accounted for.
We all know that United’s best form kicks in from January but this performance could kick start our revival from now. Next up is Stoke on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup with a place in the semi-final up for grabs.