Friday, 15 April 2016

Man Utd VS Aston Villa

Barclays Premier League | 16 April 2016 | Old
Trafford | Attendance: 75,411 | Scorer: Rashford 32'

Manchester United applied pressure to fourth-
placed rivals Manchester City with a 1-0 victory
over Aston Villa, courtesy of Marcus Rashford's
first-half strike.

Louis van Gaal made five changes to the XI that
started at West Ham in midweek but the match
lacked any real intensity, even if defeat confirmed
the Midlanders' inevitable relegation to the

After Jordan Ayew skied the game's first attempt,
Marcos Rojo's header over the top from Memphis
Depay's near-post free-kick registered the Reds'
opening gambit on 10 minutes. The hosts adopted
a steady approach and, from one of many patient
build-ups, Joleon Lescott produced a nervous
clearance behind his own goal from a Rashford

Juan Mata jinked into a dangerous position, only
for his shot to find touch, while ex-Red Kieran
Richardson also produced a wayward effort when
Marouane Fellaini's header clear fell to him. The
brightest moment of the half came on 32 minutes
as Rooney was fouled by Lescott in midfield. The
captain drilled the set-piece to the overlapping
Antonio Valencia and when the right-back's cross
arrived in the middle, Rashford supplied a predatory
finish past Brad Guzan for his seventh goal in 12

Guzan then comfortably dealt with a cross-shot
from Rooney and a heavily-deflected Memphis free-
kick as Villa remained in the game when the half-
time whistle sounded, despite failing to show too
much attacking ambition.

Possession : United 67% Villa 33%
Shots at goal : United 7 Villa 3
Shots on target: United 2 Villa 0
Corners: United 9 Villa 0

With Memphis more involved, United searched for a
second strike to effectively make the points safe
but Rashford was unable to profit when twice put
through by Mata, firstly being hustled out of his
stride by Alan Hutton and then dragging his finish

Memphis bent a drive off target and had a free-kick
that failed to trouble Guzan, while Mata forced a
stop out of the keeper following Daley Blind's
clever corner. Guzan also escaped a goalmouth
scramble when Fellaini challenged him but referee
Kevin Friend deemed no offence to have been

Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial replaced
Rooney and Rashford but United failed to show the
necessary devilment to breach the visiting defence
again. With seven minutes left, Blind and
Schneiderlin managed to prevent substitute Rudy
Gestede tapping in an Ayew pass. Suddenly, Villa
sensed a goal with Gestede hitting a post from
Ashley Westwood's corner and, from the following
set-piece by the midfielder, Ciaran Clark forced a
diving save out of the otherwise largely
unemployed David De Gea.
Gestede, a real threat in the air, also sent a header
over the top while Memphis was close to wrapping
things up in stoppage time when Guzan touched his
shot onto a post, from Martial's incisive through

Possession: United 66% Villa 34%
Shots at goal: United 13 Villa 6
Shots on target: United 4 Villa 1
Corners: United 14 Villa 3

United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Rojo;
Schneiderlin, Fellaini; Mata (Fosu-Mensah 89),
Rooney (Lingard 66), Memphis; Rashford (Martial
Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, McNair, Young.

Aston Villa: Guzan; Hutton, Clark, Lescott,
Cissokho; Westwood, Gueye; Bacuna, Sinclair,
Richardson (Gestede 82); Ayew.
Subs not used: Bunn, Richards, Sanchez, Gil, Lyden,
Booked: Richardson.

"It was not our best performance, of course, you
have seen it for yourself. I think we played too
slowly and it was also difficult as they were playing
very defensively and very compact. But we have
three points and that is the most important thing
at this stage." - Louis van Gaal

"Maybe fans and the media took the win for
granted and we never do this. In the Premier
League it doesn’t matter if the team is at the top
or the bottom of the table, it is always difficult. A
win is a win, and in our race to get into the
Champions League position, it was important to do
that." - Juan Mata

"We've defended really well this season and we
need to continue until the last game and hopefully
we will be in the top four. We need to win our
games and wait for the rest of the teams. We will
see in the end." - David De Gea


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