Man Utd sink Villa to boost top four bid
Scott McTominay stored alive Manchester United’s hopes of ending within the Premier League’s high 4 because the midfielder’s late purpose clinched an important 2-1 win towards Aston Villa on Sunday.
Erik ten Hag’s facet desperately wanted a victory at Villa Park to shut the hole within the race to qualify for subsequent season’s Champions League.
United took an early lead by way of in-form Rasmus Hojlund earlier than Douglas Luiz levelled within the second half.
That set the stage for United’s second late winner towards Villa this time period as McTominay got here off the bench to go dwelling with simply 4 minutes left.
United stay in sixth place after their fourth successive victory in all competitions, however they’re now simply 5 factors behind fifth-placed Villa and 6 adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.
“It’s a large win for us. We’ve obtained nearer and that was the purpose for at present. The way in which we did it, I preferred it,” Ten Hag stated.
“At 1-1 we needed to battle again and we’re actually completely satisfied about that. It was so open, like a tennis match. It may go two methods, however we discovered the mentality and character to win.
“Scott is nice. He’s an instance for a lot of gamers as of late. He’s at all times prepared to return on and make a distinction.”
Villa boss Unai Emery added: “We have been taking part in nicely towards the mighty Manchester United, however we couldn’t rating some clear probabilities.
“The result’s powerful for us and troublesome to just accept however that’s soccer. We performed like we deliberate and deserved extra.”
Whereas a high 4 place continues to be a troublesome ask for United, they’ve not less than given themselves an opportunity with their gritty success within the West Midlands.
Considerably, they’re lastly flourishing in assault after misfiring for a lot of the marketing campaign.
Hojlund’s winner towards Villa on Boxing Day has kick-started a run of six objectives in seven video games for the Denmark striker.
After failing to attain in any of his first 14 video games within the Premier League, the 21-year-old has turn into the second youngest participant to web in 5 successive appearances within the competitors, behind Nicolas Anelka for Arsenal in 1998.
Hojlund now has 11 objectives in 29 matches in all competitions in his debut season after signing from Atalanta, along with his newest arriving within the seventeenth minute.
Bruno Fernandes’ nook was headed down by Harry Maguire and Hojlund, simply barely onside, calmly slotted previous Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez from six yards.
– McTominay influence –
Villa mounted a powerful response as John McGinn’s highly effective blast drew a high-quality save from Andre Onana.
Ollie Watkins wasted a golden alternative to equalise when he raced onto McGinn’s go, solely to shoot straight at Onana.
Victor Lindelof changed Luke Shaw at left-back for United on the interval and Villa instantly attacked the out of place Swede.
Onana stored United forward with an instinctive save to repel Watkins’ close-range shot from Matty Money’s low cross.
Jacob Ramsey’s poor contact allowed a golden alternative for a Villa equaliser to go begging after Leon Bailey’s go break up the United defence.
Fernandes ought to have achieved higher than smash wildly over from Alejandro Garnacho’s cutback.
It proved an important miss as Villa deservedly equalised within the 67th minute.
United didn’t take care of a nook and when Onana saved Clement Lenglet’s close-range flick, Raphael Varane may solely scuff the ball in the direction of Bailey.
The Villa ahead picked out an ideal go to Luiz and the Brazilian fired dwelling from 5 yards earlier than celebrating in flamboyant vogue in entrance of Onana.
Garnacho virtually restored United’s lead with an excellent run and strike, however Martinez saved at full-stretch.
Onana obtained a measure of revenge for Luiz’s provocative celebration when he saved the midfielder’s scuffed effort.
And United snatched three priceless factors within the 86th minute as McTominay rose highest to satisfy Diogo Dalot’s cross with a thunderous header that flashed previous Martinez.
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