Aston Villa 0 Man United 1

Af­ter suf­fer­ing an un­ex­pec­ted 2-1 de­feat ag­ainst Crys­tal Pal­ace at Old Traf­ford in the Foot­ball Lea­gue Cup, the Man­chester Uni­ted play­ers made the re­l­at­ively short jour­ney to Birm­ing­ham to face As­ton Vil­la. The Vil­la Park out­fit had ma­naged a goal­less draw wi­th Swansea City at the Liberty Sta­dium in their pre­vi­ous Pre­mier Lea­gue mat­ch, whi­le The Red Dev­ils had be­en held to a 1-1 draw ag­ainst New­castle Uni­ted at The Theatre of Dreams. In the cor­res­pond­ing en­counter of the 2010-11 sea­son, As­ton Vil­la and Man­chester Uni­ted had played out an en­thralling 2-2 draw at Vil­la Park on the 13th of Nov­ember 2010, but Rio Fer­dinand and com­pany got the bet­ter of the Mid­landers this time as they bag­ged all three points to the des­pair of The Claret and Blue Army. In the 20th min­ute of the ac­tion, Phil Jones sprin­ted in­to the pen­alty area where the ver­sat­ile de­fender ham­mered ho­me a cross from nippy flanker Lu­is Nani. Man­chester Uni­ted gradu­ally star­ted to take con­trol of pos­ses­sion af­ter the open­ing goal from the new­ly ad­ven­tur­ous Jones and Nani should have doubled the lead for the vis­it­ors in the 25th min­ute of the clash, but his head­er was saved by Shay Giv­en in the As­ton Vil­la goal. A mere two min­utes la­ter, tho­ugh, the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land net cus­todi­an had to come off the pitch wi­th a ham­string prob­lem and the ever­green was sub­sequently re­placed by Amer­ic­an in­ter­na­tion­al Brad Guz­an. The Old Traf­ford out­fit con­tin­ued to dom­in­ate the en­counter af­ter the re­start, but for all their pres­sure Sir Al­ex Ferguson´s play­ers were un­able to find the back of the net. Wi­th fif­teen min­utes re­maining on the clock, the hosts ev­entually put Man­chester Uni­ted and Den­mark shot stop­per An­ders Linde­gaard to the test when Wales in­ter­na­tion­al Ja­mes Collins head­ed a good cross from Rich­ard Dun­ne. Al­though the mar­gin of vic­tory was nar­row, there was noth­ing for­tu­nate about Man­chester United’s tri­umph ag­ainst a rather dis­mal As­ton Vil­la side.

Af­ter over­com­ing The Vil­lains by a nar­row 1-0 mar­gin at Vil­la Park, Sir Al­ex Fer­guson’s Man­chester Uni­ted re­mained five points adrift of Barclays Pre­mier Lea­gue up­starts Man­chester City who ham­mered Nor­wich City 5-1 at East­lands on the same day, wi­th Ser­gio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Yaya Tou­re, Mario Balo­telli, and Ad­am John­son net­ting a goal apiece for The Sky Blues, and Ste­ve Mor­is­on scor­ing a con­sol­a­tion for The Ca­nar­ies. Re­gard­ing Phil Jones, the Pre­sto­ni­an star­ted his ca­reer wi­th Black­burn Rov­ers for whom he made his de­but in a 1-0 win over Not­ting­ham For­est at City Gro­und in the Lea­gue Cup Third Ro­und on the 22nd of Septem­ber 2009. Af­ter ma­king 35 Pre­miership ap­pear­ances for The Blue and Whi­tes, he sig­ned on a five-year con­tract wi­th Man­chester Uni­ted on the 13th of June 2011 and was giv­en his fir­st te­am de­but in a 3–1 friendly vic­tory over Ma­jor Lea­gue Soc­cer te­am Chica­go Fire at the Sol­dier Field on the 23rd of the fol­low­ing month. He went on to make his fir­st Pre­mier Lea­gue ap­pear­ance for Uni­ted in a hard-fou­ght 2-1 tri­umph ag­ainst West Brom­wich Al­bion at The Haw­thorns on the open­ing day of the 2011-12 cam­paign and won the Pre­miership title wi­th the club the next sea­son. An Eng­land play­er, Jones made his in­ter­na­tion­al seni­or de­but for his na­tive coun­try in a 2–2 Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship Quali­fier draw ag­ainst Montenegro at Podgor­ica City Sta­dium on the 7 of Oct­ober 2011. As­ton Vil­la Te­am: Shay Giv­en, Alan Hut­ton, Ja­mes M Collins, Rich­ard Dun­ne, Chris Herd, Steph­en War­nock, Marc Al­brighton, Bar­ry Ban­nan, Jer­maine Je­nas, Gabby Ag­bon­lahor, Dar­ren Bent. Sub­stitutes: Car­los Cuel­lar, Ciaran Clark, Fa­bi­an Delph, Steph­en Ire­land, Stili­an Pet­rov, Emile Hes­key, Brad Guz­an. Man­chester Uni­ted: An­ders Linde­gaard, Chris Small­ing, Ne­manja Vid­ic, Pat­rice Ev­ra, Rio Fer­dinand, Lu­is Nani, Phil Jones, Mi­chael Car­rick, Ash­ley Young, Way­ne Roo­ney, Javi­er Her­nandez. Sub­stitutes: Jon­athan Evans, Ry­an Gig­gs, Dan­ny Wel­beck, An­tonio Va­lencia, Dar­ren Fletch­er, Ji-Sung Park, Da­vid de Gea.


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