Manchester United – Aston Villa: Devils Outlast Rampant Villa To Go Level On Top (2-1)
Aston Villa brought good counterpressing, quick free-kicks and a narrow defensive block, but Manchester United withstood their rampant opponents to go level on points with Liverpool. This high intensity and entertaining affair brought the best out of few, but Paul Pogba’s role on the left turned out to be too much to handle for their opponents.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
With top-place contenders continuously dropping points, Manchester United and Aston Villa met with a chance of cementing their ambitions, after a solid run of results over the Christmas period.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær still divides opinion. His team are capable of a long consistent spell of results, whilst derailing such momentum in the most spectacular of fashions. For every positive statistic, there’s always another to counteract; Man United accumulated the third most points in the last calendar year, whilst scoring 8.6 more goals than expected, throughout the season so far. Solskjær has undoubtedly got the club competing again - whether he can take them to the next level is waiting to be seen.
With some of the clubs in the ‘big six’ finding themselves in transition, the last thing they needed was a team like Aston Villa shooting back up the table. Dean Smith has got his team performing at levels, which would be seen as alien as little as six months ago. Villa are only nine points away from reaching last season’s total, without even past the halfway point of the current campaign.
Solskjær made four changes from the team that beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, with Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Fred and Anthony Martial . . .