Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Man Utd 3 - 1 Aston Villa

Wayne Rooney scored twice to help Manchester United maintain their five point lead at the top of the Premier League with a win over Aston Villa.
Rooney's sublime control and powerful strike put the home side emphatically ahead within a minute.
He then sidefooted in an inviting Nani cross on the stoke of half-time.
Darren Bent slotted in a Stewart Downing cross to give Villa hope but that was dispelled when home defender Nemanja Vidic thumped in a shot.
Premier League leaders United, like Rooney, have been accused of not being at their best this season but both the team and player disproved those notions against Villa.
Although the Midlanders had beaten United 1-0 at Old Trafford last season and briefly rallied after Bent's goal, ultimately, they were comprehensively brushed aside this time around.
Rooney had only scored four times ahead of the game and, despite worries over the his lack of goals, his manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he had no such fears considering the striker's overall contribution.
Ferguson kept faith Rooney, even though Javier Hernandez had scored two goals in as many games to stake a claim for a first-team spot, and had his decision justified after just 54 seconds against Villa.
Keeper Edwin van der Sar was the unlikely provider as his steered a clearance found Rooney, who had got ahead of last defender Richard Dunne, and the United forward controlled a ball coming over his shoulder with aplomb before powering a shot past Brad Friedel.
The goal gave the Old Trafford side an early grip on the game and they rarely relinquished their stranglehold as they passed with poise and defended with a discipline.
Villa struggled to find a way through United and the lack of accuracy to their passing only compounded their frustrations, with a mistimed Bent effort a rare opening for them.
The home side were professionally going about their business and were denied a spot-kick when Dunne clumsily barged Nani off the the ball.
It was a challenge very similar to Rafael Da Silva's on Blackpool's Luke Varney when United also escaped giving away a penalty in a recent game.
United did not dwell on the decision and Nani had a left-foot piledriver fended wide by Friedel, who became the oldest player in Villa's history at 39 years and 259 days with his appearance.
Friedel again had to save as he parried a Patrice Evra shot before gathering the ball after the left-back had been put through by Ryan Giggs.
Giggs was voted United's greatest player in a recent poll and even at 37 his closing down of the opposition and tracking back was an example to his team-mates.
The more glamorous qualities usually associated with him are skill and pace and he used those to race on to a ball across him, dummy a defender before having a right-foot shot saved.
United's threat eventually turned into a goal when Rooney ran on to Nani's delicious inswinging cross to slot in at the far post.
Ferguson's side may have been in control but they have squandered points from such positions previously this season and, when an unmarked Bent slotted in after 58 minutes, United's boss had reason for concern as the visitors showed signs of launching a comeback.
However, those fears for the Red Devils were quickly dispelled as Rooney laid the ball off to centre-back Nemanja Vidic and he drove in a curling shot from just inside the area.
A curling Ashley Young shot hit the crossbar with Van der Sar beaten as Villa tried to work their way back into the game, although it was United who looked the more likely goalscorers.
Berbatov blazed high and Friedel excellently kept efforts from Nani and Rooney at bay before the final whistle heralded United extending their unbeaten run to 29 games.

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