Aston Villa 2 Man United 3
Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 3, Villa Park, English Premier League, November 10, 2012. Manchester United came from two goals down to edge out Aston Villa by 3-2 at Villa Park thanks to a double from Javier Hernandez and an own goal from Ron Vlaar. The win meant that United were now top of the Premiership table, four points in front of second placed Chelsea, and five above Manchester City.
After defeating Portuguese Primeira Liga club Sporting Braga 3-1 at Estadio Municipal de Braga in the UEFA Champions League three days earlier, table topping Manchester United made the relatively short trip to the Midlands to lock horns with seventeenth positioned Aston Villa at Villa Park. In the corresponding meeting in Birmingham the previous season, Manchester United had narrowly beaten The Villains by a 1-0 score courtesy of a rare goal from Three Lions international Phil Jones in the 20th minute of a hard-fought match. As for absentees, Villa had to cope without defenders Joe Bennett and Eric Lichaj, and forward Darren Bent, while United were without defenders Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, and Nemanja Vidic, midfielder Shinji Kagawa, and winger Luis Nani. Despite dominating possession for most of the first period, Manchester United struggled to break down a hard working and well organised Aston Villa defence. The Claret and Blue gradually fought their way into the contest and it was the Villa Park club who scored the opening goal of the clash when Christian Benteke delivered a precise pass to fellow frontman Andreas Weimann who slammed an unstoppable sixteen-yard effort past United custodian David de Gea to provide the hosts with the lead in the final minute of the first half, and five minutes into the second period, the same player registered his second goal of the game as he converted a dangerous low cross from Gabriel Agbonlahor. But in the 58th minute of proceedings, super substitute Javier Hernandez halved the deficit for Manchester United when the goal poacher received a beautifully timed long ball from midfield stalwart Paul Scholes and managed to nutmeg former Chivas USA netminder Brad Guzan during the process, and five minutes later Chicharito´s youthful bravado surfaced again with his powerful drive deflecting off Aston Villa and Holland defender Ron Vlaar and into the net.
The equaliser made Manchester United more determined than ever, and summer signing Robin van Persie had two attempts hit the crossbar inside a minute. And with only two minutes remaining of normal time, Javier Hernandez recorded the winning goal as the well-positioned striker dived to head an accurately taken free-kick from Van Persie past Guzan and into the bottom right corner of the net to make the final scoreline read 3-2 in the favour of United. After scoring twice against Aston Villa, Hernandez had now found the back of the net on seven occasions during his last five appearances for Manchester United. Aston Villa Team: Brad Guzan, Matthew Lowton, Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark, Enda Stevens, Andreas Weimann, Ashley Westwood, Stephen Ireland, Barry Bannan, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke Liolo. Substitutes: Derrick Williams, Karim El Ahmadi, Fabian Delph, Marc Albrighton, Brett Holman, Jordan Bowery, Shay Given. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Chris Smalling, Rafael da Silva, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young. Substitutes: Alexander Buttner, Oliveira Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Anders Lindegaard.