Ten men Villa manage to keep it 1-1 as they draw with United
A straight red card for Aston Villa wasn’t enough to help Manchester United getting the three points, as the game finished 1-1 at the Villa Park this afternoon.
Aston Villa, who before the game had only scored 10 goals; the lowest amount by any team in the top four leagues in England so far, would have preferred not facing a team like Manchester United at this moment.
Villa have lost half of their last 60 home games in the Premier League and only averaged a point per game at Villa Park. Not only that, but since Paul Lambert took charge in 2012, Villa have not managed a goal in 36 of their 92 Premier League fixtures.
Now, with eight players missing, manager Paul Lambert had to find a tactical solution as he was without players such as Westwood, Cole, Cleverly, Richardson and Hutton etc. This was the reason why he chose a 5-3-2 formation for today’s game, with a strong back line, trying to stop United’s attacking thread.
The Red Devils on the other hand have been in flying form; with six successive wins. Last time they won seven games in a row was in 2013, during Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge.
Since starting the season with three draws and two defeats, United have turned their season on its head, with Louis Van Gaal’s side been playing amazingly in attack. Players such as Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Van Persie and Angel Di Maria have all been playing well lately.
Rooney especially, has scored more goals against Villa in the Premier League (12) than he has against any other side. Mata has scored five goals from just six shots on target this season, while Di Maria has created 31 chances in his 11 league games so far. However, the Argentine started on the bench today after getting back from injury.
Villa have not beaten United at Villa Park since the 1995-96 season where they won 3-1, making United unbeaten in their last 18 meetings, the longest unbeaten away run in any fixture in top-flight history. Their 3-1 victory was also the day when Allan Hansen said the famous quote that you cannot win anything with kids, however United went on winning the double.
Aston Villa were a long way from repeating their 3-1 today, as they played with a very defensive formation. Because of this, United had most of the ball in the Villa half and had the first real chance of the game in the 12th minute, when Robin Van Persie’s right footed shot from the right side was saved by Brad Guzan in goal.
United kept attacking, but it was Aston Villa who amazingly took the lead in the 16th minute, when Christian Benteke chested the ball down, dribbled to the left, and with a left footed shot from the right side of the box, he smashed the ball into the top left corner.
Val Gaal’s side tried to get the equaliser as quick as possible, and in the 33rd minute they came close, when a Ashley Young deep cross from the left curled to the right and went pass all the players which tricked Guzan who had to make a long jump to clear out the ball.
In the second half, Benteke came again close to take a further lead in the 47th minute, when a Fabian Delph cross found Benteke, whose header had to be flicked over the crossbar in an acrobatic manner by David De Gea in goal.
Van Persie had another effort on target in the 51st minute, after receiving a great through ball from Rooney, but saw his finish on the left saved by another great Guzan save.
Then finally in the 53rd minute, Falcao put United back in the game when he received a great cross from Young on the left, and could with an easy header in the centre of the box make it 1-1.
Everything turned worse for Villa 65 minutes into the game, when Gabriel Agbonlahor was shown a straight red for a harsh tackle on Ashley Young.
Weirdly enough, it were Villa who played better after the sending off, as they managed to clear out any United attempt on goal, keeping the red devils from scoring.
Villa could even have taken the lead two minutes before full time, when Bacuna from 20 yards tried a cannon ball shot which flew just above the crossbar, leaving De Gea with no chance if it had gone on target.
United had the last effort on goal two minutes into extra time, when young James Wilson up front found himself unmarked just outside the box, and tried curled shot to the left, but Guzan was again there to stop United.
The game finished 1-1, ending United’s chances of a seventh successive win and Villa will certainly be the happier team of the two, as the draw takes them to 12th in the League. Villa’s next game will be on Boxing Day away against Swansea City.
Manchester United would have wanted to get their seventh win in a row, especially has Villa were one man down for 30 minutes of the game. A draw puts Van Gaal and his men on third, only seven points behind Manchester City and Chelsea on top. The red devils next match will also be on Boxing Day at home to Newcastle United.