Man United 3 Aston Villa 1
Manchester United 3 Aston Villa 1, Old Trafford, English Premier League, February 1, 2011. Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 3-1 thanks to a Wayne Rooney brace and a goal by Nemanja Vidic. United dominated possession from the start and were 2-0 up at the break before the teams shared two goals each in the second frame to complete the scoring.
Manchester United were looking to stretch their lead at the top of the Premiership table as they faced Aston Villa at Old Trafford on the first of February 2011. United went into this clash having won fifteen of their last twenty-one League encounters with The Villains and, with a record like that, anything but a home win would have been representing a major surprise against Gerard Houllier´s men. The previous meeting between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park had had ended in a dramatic two-all draw with the visitors coming back from two-nil down. This time, however, Sir Alex Ferguson´s Premier League title chasers had home advantage and were in much better form, and if The Reds either defeated or drew with Villa, they would stretch their unbeaten Premier League run to twenty-nine matches. As for unavailable players, Manchester United had to manage without Owen Hargreaves because of a hamstring problem, while Aston Villa were missing the suspended Nathan Baker and Fabian Delph, who was sidelined with a long term knee injury.
Former United States netminder Brad Friedel was outstanding in goal for Aston Villa and made some exceptional saves throughout the contest, including a terrific dive during the closing moments to deny born again goalscorer Wayne Rooney a hat-trick. Manchester United, who had not lost a Premier League fixture since the two-one defeat against eventual champions Chelsea at Old Trafford on the third of April 2010, showed their authority from the kick-off, taking the lead in the first minute of the match with an amazing goal from Rooney. The Three Lions international latched on to a sixty yard free-kick from goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar and managed to somehow slot the ball past a bewildered Friedel and into the back of the net. And as the first period progressed, Manchester United went two goals up on the stroke of half-time as a perfect cross from Luis Nani found the omnipresent Rooney who hammered the ball home from the far post. Darren Bent pulled one back for The Villains two minutes before the hour mark when the twenty-seven-year-old striker converted a low cross from winger Stewart Downing, but a mere five minutes later Manchester United had their third goal of the game as Rooney played the ball back to Nemanja Vidic who powered a fierce shot past Friedel and into the roof of the net to make the final scoreline read three-one in favour of the red shirted men. Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, John O’Shea, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, Luis Nani, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney. Substitutes: Chris Smalling, Fabio da Silva, Oliveira Anderson, Paul Scholes, Javier Hernandez, Michael Owen, Anders Lindegaard. Aston Villa Team: Brad Friedel, Kyle Walker, James Michael Collins, Richard Dunne, Ciaran Clark, Ashley Young, Marc Albrighton, Stewart Downing, Stilian Petrov, Darren Bent, Jean Makoun. Substitutes: Nigel Reo-Coker, Robert Pires, Carlos Cuellar, Gabby Agbonlahor, Nathan Delfouneso, Emile Heskey, Andy Marshall.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Manchester United beat Aston Villa 6-4 at Villa Park in the FA Cup Third Round on the 10th of January 1948 thanks to a brace each by Stan Pearson and Johnny Morris and a goal apiece from Jimmy Delaney and Jack Rowley. United went on to win the tournament after trashing Blackpool 4-2 in the final.