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10 November 2012
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 40538
A. Weimann 45'+, 50'
J. Hernández 58', 87'
R. Vlaar 63' (own goal)
But as Villa tired in the second half, a Chicharito-inspired Man United rallied, coming from behind to win yet against this season. They controlled the game, while van Persie was hugely unlucky not to grab a goal (or two). A hugely entertaining match.
Villa executed their game plan brilliantly for almost an hour, applying pressure to Scholes and breaking quickly. Ireland was pulling the strings, Benteke was brushing over defenders and Weimann finishing the moves.
FULL-TIME! It's all over at Villa Park, and the home side have been dealt the cruelest of blows. From 2-0 up, Villa leave the pitch with nothing to show for their hard work and good play. But once again, Sir Alex's men find a way to win against the odds.
90' + 6'
Man United keep the ball and wind down the clock, before rushing to congratulate their Mexican hero as the final whistle is blown.
90' + 5'
With time against them, Villa work the ball well between Delph and El Ahmadi. The ball eventually finds Lowton who drills a low cross into the box, which is cleared by Evra.
90' + 3'
Lowton floats a ball into the box towards Benteke. The towering Belgian nods it down for Vlaar, who shields the ball and lets it run for Holman, with the Australian's shot blocked by Smalling. De Gea makes a commanding punch to clear the resulting corner.
That is so cruel on Villa, who have worked tirelessly this evening. Man United's possession should see them over the line from here. There will be five minutes of added time.
Assist Robin van Persie
Goal Javier Hernández
GOAL!! Chicharito shows why he was voted Man United's player of the month with another goal that surely wins the match for the visitors. Van Persie takes a brilliant free-kick that lands inside the 6-yard box and the Mexican is there to diving-head the ball in. Guzan had no chance, but Lowton allowed Chicarito to get goal-side.
Man United continue to control possession through Carrick, but have yet to create a clear-cut opportunity.
Evra gets forward and drills a ball across the face of goal, but Bannan gets back and cuts out the delivery. Villa clear the resulting corner, which is over-hit.
Villa are struggling to keep the ball now, while Man United have upped their already considerable share of possession. Yet Guzan has been rarely troubled, though admittedly his bar saved him on two occasions.
Villa make another sub, as Weimann is replaced by Holman. The Austrian won't get a chance to claim the hat-trick ball. He's had a very good game though.
K. El Ahmadi
Rooney, who took a bit of a knock earlier, is replaced by Anderson, while Lambert subs Ireland for El Ahmadi. Two defence-minded midfielders, make of that what you will...
Cleverley has brought more energy to the Man United midfield, while Rooney, playing on the left wing since the introduction of Chicharito, is delivering a number of excellent crosses...which Vlaar has so far been equal to.
What an incredible couple of minutes. From Weimann almost grabbing a hat-trick goal to van Persie hitting the bar, in the same spot, twice within seconds. The game could go either way, but you'd have to back the visitors. Villa are pressing less aggressively now, tiring, and van Persie is beginning to make his presence known.
OFF THE BAR AGAIN! Man United recover possession and van Persie picks the ball up in space outside the box. He takes a touch a wraps his foot around the ball, sending a fierce drive towards goal. The ball beats Guzan but not the crossbar. Villa are hanging on now.
OFF THE BAR! Rooney's near-post corner is met by van Persie, who powers his header against the woodwork from close range.
Paul Scholes, whose wonderfully pass gave Man United a way back into the game, is replaced by Cleverley. The veteran midfielder was flagging.
Lowton crosses from deep, playing a brilliant ball into the corridor of uncertainty. Benteke tries to attack the crossl, but Smalling makes a vital interception. The resulting corner is over-hit by Bannan.
Villa have responded so well to losing their two-goal lead. Their heads haven't dropped and they're breaking forward with even more urgency and potency than before.
WHAT A SAVE! Bannan delivers a brilliant, in-swinging cross into the box which Weimann attacks. The Austrian's header is fiercely struck, but De Gea is equal to it and denies Weimann a hat-trick with a brilliant reflex save.
Yellow Card Michael Carrick
Man United are pushing forward for a winner already, as Rooney fires a shot towards the bottom corner producing a solid save from Guzan. Villa win back the ball and look to counter, but Carrick drags down Ireland and picks up a booking.
Own Goal Ron Vlaar
GOAL!! Rooney plays a pass behind Stevens for Rafael, who races to the byline and crosses to the far post where Chicharito side-foot volleys the ball towards goal. The Mexican's shot takes a deflection off Vlaar on the way in.
Weimann plays in a curling cross towards the far post for Benteke, and the big Belgian's powerful header across goal is well held by De Gea. The flag was up for offside anyway.
United push for an equaliser immediately after the re-start, as Rafael bursts forward from deep and wins a corner. But the Villa defence, so commanding in the air, clear the danger.
Assist Paul Scholes
Goal Javier Hernández
GOAL!! Man United are back in the game. Scholes plays a beautiful pass behind the Villa defence for Chicharito, who was flirting with the offside trap. The Mexican looked to have miscontrolled the ball and lost his opportunity to shoot, but he quickly adjusted his feet and rolled the ball between the legs of Clark, under Guzan and into the back of the net. Never write off United.
Yellow Card Stephen Ireland
Ireland picks up a yellow card for a rash, unnecessary foul on Smalling by Man United's corner flag.
How do Man United respond? Guzan's been largely untroubled so far, and Villa look like they can score for fun on the break. As the visitors push forward, more space will become available to the home side to exploit.
Assist Gabriel Agbonlahor
Goal Andreas Weimann
GOAL!! He's done it again! Weimann doubles Villa's lead with another lovely goal. Benteke steps over Westwood's pass, allowing the ball to run to Ireland. The Irishman feeds Agbonlahor down the left channel, in acres of space, who delivers a pin-point cross to the back-post for Weimann to tap-in. Two brilliant goals for the home side.
Van Persie peels off Vlaar and finds a bit of space inside the box before crossing towards the penalty spot. Lowton clears for a corner and Villa remove the subsequent danger.
More of the same at the start of the second half, with Carrick and Scholes controlling the game in midfield, spreading the play out wide. But Villa's shape has been very good so far.
There's been one change at the break, with Chicharito replacing Young.
Man United get the game back underway.
Man United find themselves behind yet again this season. They've kept the ball well but not yet provided any chances for van Persie or Rooney. Scholes has been targetted by Ireland, while Vlaar is gobbling up the United wingers' deliveries from out wide. De Gea perhaps at fault for the goal.
Villa have pressed brilliantly and worked tirelessly, counter-attacking with speed and confidence. Ireland has been particularly impressive and Benteke a constant nuissance. They look solid at the back too, but Lambert's tactics will drain his side as the match continues.
HALF-TIME! Weimann's lovely goal was the last action of the half as Villa's threat on the break finally resulted in a goal their play has deserved. Man United have had more possession, but the home side have looked more dangerous.
45' + 1'
Goal Andreas Weimann
GOAL!! Brilliant. Weimann starts and finishes a fantastic Villa counter-attack. The Austrian collects the ball deep in his own half and feeds Benteke with a lovely, outside of the boot pass. Benteke shrugs off Smalling with pure power and runs towards goal before pulling the ball back to the edge of the area for Weimann, who'd continued his run, to pass into the back of the net. A lovely move.
45' + 1'
Assist Christian Benteke
A sign of his increasing frustration, Rooney takes a speculative shot from 35-yards that is easily collected by Guzan.
Lowton does brilliantly down the right, nutmegging one white shirt before nicking the ball off Young, who was trying to let the ball roll out for a corner. However, the Villa full-back's cross is over-hit and alludes Benteke at the far post.
Van Persie, the league's leading scorer, has barely had a touch so far. The Dutchman has been fighting for space to attack crosses in a crowded box, while Rooney, also quiet, has dropped deeper and deeper in search of the ball.
Man United are really utilising the flanks, spreading the ball out wide. But so far the delivery from Valencia and Young has been poor, while Vlaar looks at ease competing for aerial balls.
Weimann is closed down by three Man United players, but the ball bounces away kindly into the path of Ireland, who takes a touch and drives a shot towards the far post. De Gea was worried initially, but the shot was comfortably wide.
Young, still being booed every time he touches the ball, plays a pass inside to Scholes who takes a touch and whacks a powerful shot towards goal, but Vlaar gets his huge frame between the goal and the ball and blocks the attempt.
A lovely Man United move sweeps from back to front, with Young playing in Evra on the overlap, but the Frenchman's pull-back is blocked and cleared by the Villa defence.
Benteke bursts past Evra for fun down the right channel, but his cross is hugely over-hit.
Ireland is in danger of being booked after three fouls on Scholes in quick succession. Lambert's game-plan hinges on the Irishman's aggressive pressing, which would be diluted were he to pick up a caution.
Ireland tackles Scholes again, this time on the edge of the Man United box, and Villa look certain to score. But the referee blows his whistle, adjudging the Irishman to have been over zealous with his challenge and fouling Scholes. Looked a tad harsh.
Here's Liam Twomey from Villa Park: "Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes are winning the midfield battle for United so far, but Villa look more than a little dangerous on the counter. Stephen Ireland's vision to see and pick out pacey and willing runners has caused panic in the visitors' defence a couple of times already. This is shaping up to be an intriguing battle, but events on the pitch are momentarily forgotten as all four corners of the ground break into applause in the 19th minute in honour of absent captain Stiliyan Petrov, currently continuing his recovery from leukaemia."
Rafael bursts past Stevens and floats a cross into the box, which just evades the head of Rooney. Man United could have a lot of joy down their right flank.
Man United's early possession has waned and Villa perhaps should be a goal up, with Ireland, Benteke and Agbonlahor linking well on the break.
The 19th-minute is met by a hearty round of applause from the home fans for captain Stiliyan Petrov.
Ireland carries the ball forward, unchallenged, and slides a ball behind Evra for Agbonlahor, now on the right wing, to chase. Agbonlahor's pace is too much for the Frenchman, but his cross does not reach Benteke.
Villa have another chance as Westwood flights a pass over and behind the Man United defence for Benteke. The away side think he's offside, but the flag stays down. The Belgian's shot is saved by De Gea, and the resulting corner is sent straight to Scholes on the edge of the box.
Weimann and Ireland link well and break forward in a 3v3 situation, with Benteke also joining the attack. Weimann is driving forward and the Man United defence keep backing off, but he delays his pass too long and Ferdinand blocks. Big chance. Ireland was in so much space.
Villa look dangerous on the break, with Ireland looking to release Benteke and Agbonlahor, but it hasn't quite clicked for Villa on the break yet. Scholes has been caught on the ball a couple of times by Ireland.
Villa win another corner, and it's aimed towards Benteke at the far post. This time Ferdinand takes charge and removes the danger. The big Belgian looks a threat at set-pieces.
Bannan's resulting free-kick is headed out for a corner by Evra. The Scot takes the resulting set-piece which is poorly cleared and headed back into the box. The ball was slow to drop for Benteke, and Young was able to kick the ball away.
Villa get on the ball at last, with Ireland feeding Benteke, who holds the ball up well and offloads to Bannan. Villa keep the ball well before Scholes shows the other side of his game by brining down Ireland with a poorly timed challenge.
Scholes pings a trademark pass out wide for Young, who is greeted by a chorus of boos. The former Villa winger cuts inside and curls a shot just wide of Guzan's far post.
Ominous signs for Villa already, with Man United enjoying good early possession and forcing a corner after Carrick almost skipped past Vlaar. From the resulting corner, it's the former Tottenham midfielder who meets the cross but his header is easily caught by Guzan.
Agbonlahor looks to be playing off the left wing, rather than partnering Benteke up front/through the middle.
Aston Villa get the game underway.
There's a minutes silence for Remembrance Day followed by a huge cheer.
The players are on the pitch and we're just minutes away from kick-off.
Villa have been shown 24 yellow cards this season – the joint worst offenders in the league - and have seen red twice.
Man United are the league’s top scorers this season with 26 goals (compared to Villa’s eight), but the Red Devils have kept just two clean sheets this season, as many as their opponents today.
Paul Scholes starts today, just as he did in that last loss 17 years ago, which featured a first goal from David Beckham and the immortal words, "you won't win anything with kids".
Look away Villa fans, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side hasn’t lost a league game at Villa Park since 1995.
The winner of this week's "who the hell is he?" award, a regular occurrence for matches involving Aston Villa, goes to Jordan Bowery.
Chris Smalling starts alongside Rio Ferdinand in defence, with Jonny Evans unable to shake off the groin problem that forced him off against Braga. Paul Scholes, the old man rested in mid-week, starts in favour of Tom Cleverley. The league’s leading scorer Robin van Persie is paired up front with Wayne Rooney, so there’s no place in the starting XI for Man United’s player of the month Chicharito.
Darren Bent and Charles N’Zogbia haven’t managed to shake off their injuries, so Christian Benteke continues up front alongside Gabriel Agbonlahor. Paul Lambert hands a first Premier League start to Enda Stevens at left-back, with Joe Bennett, Chris Herd, Nathan Baker and Stephen Warnock all injured. Though Karim El Ahmadi has returned from suspension, he must make do with a spot on the bench, with Ashley Westwood preferred in midfield.
Manchester United subs: Lindegaard, Buttner, Anderson, Cleverley, Fletcher, Welbeck, Chicharito.
Manchester United XI: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young; Van Persie, Rooney.
Aston Villa subs: Given, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, El Ahmadi, Bowery, Williams.
Aston Villa XI: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens; Weimann, Westwood, Ireland, Bannan; Benteke, Agbonlahor.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Aston Villa vs Manchester United! I'm Ewan Roberts and I will be guiding you through all the action at Villa Park! First up, here are this evening’s line-ups…
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