Home ยป Match report: Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United – Red Devils let comfortable lead slip away

Match report: Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United – Red Devils let comfortable lead slip away

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United have dropped points in the Premier League at Villa park as Aston Villa come back from 2-0 down to force a draw.

The biggest news at the beginning of the match was that both Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo were not in the side and Jadon Sancho found himself on the bench.

So with a very different line-up to what we’re used to, there were nerves from the away fans. However, United found themselves 1-0 up after six minutes after a creative free kick from Bruno Fernandes led to a slow reaction from the Villa players and an unsighted Emi Martinez saw the ball go through his legs.

Martinez had the chance to redeem himself just before the twenty minute mark as Fernandes put a cross in that Edinson Cavani and the defence missed. It found its way to Greenwood who drilled it towards goal but Martinez had come out to meet him and made a great block.

Villa grew into the game and began to build momentum as they had a good spell of possession.

However, it was United who had the better chance again as Lucas Digne came lunging in, giving a free kick away on the edge of the box. Alex Telles took it and went for goal, forcing another great save from Martinez. Greenwood followed up with a shot that went just wide.

It was Villa’s turn to attack then and a mistake from Cavani in the middle of the park allowed Villa to go for a run but Ollie Watkins’ shot was tame and nestled nicely into De Gea’s gloves.

The United keeper took a turn at playing the hero as a series of corners ensued for Villa. A header that looked like it was sneaking in was beautifully saved by the Spaniard, who had got his positioning spot on and reacted within a split second.

Just before half-time Villa got another chance. Digne found himself in acres of space on the left and fired a powerful shot but it was straight at De Gea, who blocked it well.

United were on top at the break but could they come out and extend their lead or would Villa pick up where they left off?

The first chance came for youngster Anthony Elanga, but again Martinez stood tall to deny him. It looked promising from United again but Villa also came out fighting.

Jacob Ramsey combined with Morgan Sanson for a lovely one-two and got his shot off, but it was well saved by De Gea.

Villa were swarming all over United with the Reds struggling to get hold of the ball and keep it. It felt like only a matter of time before they made the breakthrough.

United needed to get a grip of the game and for a few moments they did, a chance for Greenwood was deflected wide before Elanga had a chance that he powered wide. Greenwood had another go that practically brushed the outside of the post.

Then it was Villa’s turn to attack but United defended resolutely. The Reds weathered the storm and as Villa played out from the back, they forced a mistake from the defence and Fred played in Bruno Fernandes who, moments earlier had been down on the ground after being stepped on by Douglas Luiz. The captain was not going to miss as he fired a rocket at the goal which ricocheted off the crossbar and into the goal.

But Villa kept on coming and they got themselves back in the game as star loan signing Philippe Coutinho set up Ramsey, who buried it in the back of De Gea’s net.

It was a dream debut for Coutinho, who then found the back of the net himself moments later as the ball rolled across the face of goal and he was waiting for an easy tap in. From 2-0 up United looked like they were clinging on to a point in the last ten minutes.

It finished all square, the home fans delighted but the away fans were left reeling.

Team: De Gea, Lindelof, Greenwood (Lingard), Fred, Fernandes (Van de Beek), Varane, Dalot, Cavani, Telles, Matic, Elanga (Sancho)

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