Aston Villa fell to yet another defeat to Manchester United in the Premier League despite taking the lead in the first half. Three second-half goals from United secured all three points at Villa Park but just as most predicted before kick-off, it wasn’t without more controversy from the officials.
Dean Smith named the same side that beat Everton last weekend while Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer named his strongest eleven despite moaning about their fixture pileup in the build-up to the game.
Aston Villa were lively in the first half causing the United backline problems while also looking comfortable despite United’s attacking threat.
United came close early on when Marcus Rashford shot from the edge of the box took a huge deflection and dropped on the head of Mason Greenwood but he could only head back across goal to enable Villa to clear with ease.
United continued to dominate but struggled with the home sides high press and it soon paid off for Smith’s side.
John McGinn won the ball back before playing the ball into the path of Bertrand Traore. Just as the winger’s trickery looked to have lost the ball, Victor Lindelof failed to clear allowing Traore to thump the ball inside the far post.
Villa had a shout for a penalty when Greenwood’s arm touched the ball in the box but both the referee and VAR judged it not to be a penalty. I wonder if it would have been given at the other end?
Both sides had chances towards the end of the first half but neither really threatened the opposition goalkeepers.
Four minutes of turmoil
The second half couldn’t have started much worse for Villa and they only had themselves to blame.
Paul Pogba was heading away from goal as he awaited the slight contact from Douglas Luiz as the French international fell to the ground. Bruno Fernandes stepped up and sent Emi Martinez the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.
Minutes later, United were in control. Greenwood turned Tyrone Mings with ease before striking from around 12-yards out to beat Martinez at his near post.
Villa came back at United and were nearly back in the game when Harry Maguire deflected a Matt Targett cross towards his own goal forcing Henderson into a save.
Smith decided to throw everything at United when he introduced Wesley and Keinan Davis and the latter came close moments after his introduction. The big striker got round the back of Lindelof and then picked out Watkins but his effort was blocked by a last-ditch tackle by Aaron Wan Bissaka.
As Villa continued to push, United broke and Edison Cavani sealed all three points for United after heading home from Rashfords cross.
Villa’s misery was topped off when Watkins was judged to have dived and was shown a second yellow card. Replays showed there was slight contact but not enough for him to go down according to the officials.
Quite funny how minimal contact was enough for Pogba to go down and even Harry Kane a few weeks ago, who was already going down may I add before contact was made. And they say the whole football pyramid isn’t corrupt?
Villa were masters of their own downfall today and deserved what they got, nothing. But that doesn’t take away the poor officiating when a so-called ‘big club’ comes to town again. All we want is a level playing field.