The “Comeback Reds” emphatically beat a resilient Aston Villa convincingly after coming from behind, as the Reds cement their place in next season’s Champions League.
How did Manchester United set up?
Solskjaer made three changes to the team that advanced to the Europa League final; with Dean Henderson, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford replacing David de Gea, Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani. United took to their usual 4-2-3-1 shape.
While Mctominay and Fred were typically rigid in their midfield pivot, with no specialist centre-forward, the front line were ready for constant interchange.
The Team:Embed from Getty Images
Dean Henderson(GK); Aaron Wan-Bissaka(RB), Victor Lindelof(RCB), Harry Maguire(LCB), Luke Shaw(LB); Scott McTominay(DM), Fred(DM), Bruno Fernandes(CAM); Paul Pogba(LAM), Marcus Rashford(ST), Mason Greenwood (RW).
How it went down
In the first half, Villa took the lead as Bertrand Traore turned and produced a fine effort into the top corner after 24 minutes, though questions will be asked of Victor Lindelöf’s calamitous defending.
However, Manchester United fought back against Dean Smith’s side in the second half and maintained their winning mentality to win from behind yet again through Bruno Fernandes’ composed penalty after Douglas Luiz had clumsily fouled Pogba before Greenwood found the bottom with an outstanding turn and finish.Embed from Getty Images
For the first time in his 72 league appearances for United, Harry Maguire did not complete 90 minutes, who forced off with an ankle injury in what will be a concern for Solskjaer’s side ahead of a horrific schedule, and for England ahead of the European championships. Solskjaer said after the game the defender’s injury will be assessed and “might be a few weeks, might be a few days.”
Substitute Edinson Cavani wrapped up the points with a classy header in the 85th minute thanks to Marcus Rashford putting in a well-timed cross, while Ollie Watkins saw red for two yellows, the second for simulation.
Final score: 1-3
Bertrand Traore, Bruno Fernandes(P), Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani
Where does this leave Manchester United?Embed from Getty Images
The result means United are now unbeaten in 25 away games, two shy of Arsenal’s record from 2003 to 2004, and that significant victory postpones Manchester City’s ambitions of sealing their 6th PL with four games to spare. Could the Red Devils miraculously gain 21 if Guardiola’s side experience inconsistent outcomes in their remaining matches?
Next up for Manchester United is Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City at Old Trafford, knowing that a victory will push them closer to Manchester City in the table.