Man United 3-1 Aston Villa: Ander Herrera steals the show

by Ben Topliss

Manchester United have secured a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa this afternoon thanks to Wayne Rooney‘s strike and a superb brace from Ander Herrera.

United made a positive start and Villa were lucky not to go down to ten men within four minutes when Ciaran Clark pulled down Rooney in the box. It looked a clear penalty, but referee Roger East waved away the protests from the United players. The game died down after the dramatic start but Marcos Rojo and Rooney came close before Herrera grabbed United’s vital opening goal just before half-time.

After the restart, Christian Benteke warned United that Villa will still in the game by firing over from ten yards out but United continued to dominate and Rooney poked wide after robbing Carlos Sanchez of possession.

It was Rooney who gave United a 2-0 cushion with what was a stunning goal but Villa went down the other end and scored almost immediately to set-up a tense finish. Herrera then sealed the three points with a smartly taken finish, meaning United’s great run of form continues.

Ander Herrera

He’s just a quality player, isn’t he? Herrera again pulled the strings in the heart of United’s midfield and regularly found his teammates with a wide range of clever passes. One particularly impressive lofted pass set Antonio Valencia free during the first-half before he crossed for Wayne Rooney in the box.

Unfortunately for United, Rooney skewed wide with an ambitious overhead kick. It was a shame the team didn’t score what would have been a fantastic goal but it goes to show just how much of a difference Herrera makes in the middle of the park. He eventually capped a wonderful first-half performance by getting onto the end of Daley Blind’s pullback and scoring United’s opening goal.

He followed it up with another in injury time and was by far and away United’s best player on the pitch. Well done Herrera.

Poor refereeing

The refereeing in the Premier League this season has been abysmal and it took Roger East just four minutes to produce another clanger for the officials on Saturday. Ciaran Clark almost strangled Wayne Rooney as he brought him down in the box but neither East nor his linesmen deemed the challenge worthy of a penalty. All this after East wrongly sent off Wes Brown rather than John O’shea in United’s 2-0 victory over Sunderland in February.

Had he awarded what was a clear foul, Clark would have been sent off and the game would have been effectively over almost as quickly as it started. Who says United always get favourable decisions at Old Trafford?

United’s cutting edge

The difference in United’s play between now and earlier in the season has been massive. Rather than the stagnant passes around the edge of the box which had characterised a disappointing earlier period of the campaign, United showed a lot more cutting edge against Villa.

Dominant but patient in their build up, United registered a passing accuracy of 91% in the first 30 minutes of the game. Herrera’s goal was fully deserved, with the only surprise being that it didn’t come sooner given the multitude of opportunities the team created in the first half of the match.

Wayne Rooney‘s magic.

On the whole, Rooney’s performance against Villa was poor. His passing was off and finishing looked rusty, that is until he buried what was a wonderful goal.

He pulled an Angel di Maria cross out of the air with an outstretched toe and then floated a shot right into the corner of Villa’s net. What a hit.

Rooney might have been quiet for most of the game but it’ll be remembered for that goal.

Good run continues

It wasn’t as convincing for the full 90 minutes as Tottenham Hotspur nor did it have the tempo of the win over Liverpool but today’s win is another three points for United. After the scousers were humiliated by Arsenal, United now have a firm grip on a top four spot.

Bring on Manchester City.

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