Narrowed the angle superbly when Berbatov was through on goal and was always a calming influence on some of his more inexperienced colleagues. Could do little about Macheda's goal but might have been more alert to Vidic's equaliser.
Comfortably the most assured of Villa's defenders, he won nearly every aerial duel and handled Berbatov and Hernandez calmly and with great aplomb. Hit the crossbar with a thundering header from one of Downing's many superb crosses. Deserved to be on the winning side.
Gave away possession too easily but was strong in the tackle and didn't allow himself to be distracted by Nani's diva-like behaviour.
An accident waiting to happen during the first half when his speed of thought appeared even slower than his speed across the ground. But gradually woke up, even though he was found wanting when United stormed back into the game.
Won his tenacious duel with Park but was skinned by Nani in the build-up to the equaliser.
Deployed in his favourite role off the main striker, the England international got in some great positions but his final ball was erratic in the first half before he won and then emphatically converted the penalty. Led the charge for the brilliant, breakaway second goal.
Produced one of the passes of the match to put Downing through on goal and the diminutive 20-year-old Scot once again did not look out of place at this level.
Hugged the left touch-line and whipped in some magnificent crosses that could - and should - have brought better rewards. Set up the second goal with a superb flat cross on the run. Showed that you don't need a bag of tricks or great pace to be a major weapon on the flanks.
A real livewire with his pace, trickery and delivery, the winger caused plenty of problems with his willingness to run at United's back four but wasted a great chance when he got caught in two minds with an unmarked back-post header and failed to hit the target. But made amends by putting the finishing touch to a great move for his team's second goal.
Ran hard and tackled tenaciously before being subbed in the final minutes on an impressive Premier League debut.
Slammed a chance that fell perfectly to him from a rebound against the post and United's centre-halves always had to keep an eye on his pace on the counter-attack. Covered every inch of turf before he was subbed.
E. van der Sar
His reflexes were good enough order to push away some magnificent Downing deliveries but was fortunate enough to be saved twice by the woodwork before Villa's goals.
Got turned inside out by Agbonlahor in the build-up to the penalty but showed his strength of character by scoring the equaliser with a diving header that sparked massive celebrations in the United camp.
Made some storming runs forward in his quasi wing-back role but was given some headaches of his own by the pace and trickery of Albrighton. Lost the winger for the second Villa goal.
Just about kept his head above water in the face of Villa's second half attacking storm but the intensity of Villa's attacking troubled him and does still not look the majestic performer of his peak.
His cynical bodycheck on Young resulted in a deserved penalty and yellow card on an afternoon when he could not cut out Downing's superb left-wing deliveries. Earlier, he had wasted a gilt-edged chance to give United the lead when his volleying technique let him down when he was unmarked the near post.
The unsung hero of the United team took a whack on his face for his troubles on an afternoon when his sheer bloodymindedness was as instrumental as anything in leading his colleagues back from the brink.
Buzzed around on the left flank like a pesky fly but his nuisance value was minimal.
His long range passing sat-nav was on the blink and frequently got caught in possession as he tried to find the pass that could break down a stubborn Villa defence.
Drew the wrath of the Villa players and crowd with his eagerness to fall to the ground but, when he stayed on his feet, his trickery and eye for the spectacular were always a huge threat even if he was not at his most effective. His brilliant run and cross teed up the equaliser for Vidic.
His appetite for destruction was glaringly apparent in a first-half display full of the confidence and sheer joie de vivre of youth. But faded after the break and was withdrawn midway through the second half for fresher legs.
Since the radiators were turned on, the Bulgarian's form has gone cold. Neat and tidy without being especially penetrative and got his angles wrong when sent through one-on-one with Friedel early on. Substituted with a quarter of the game left.
- B. Amos
- 20 Fábio
The centre-half made a nuisance of himself as an emergency striker in the last 10 minutes.
- 22 J. O'Shea
- 28 D. Gibson
Superb strike for the equaliser and his freshness and enthusiasm was key to United's comeback.
Linked the play well in an attacking midfield role and twice came close to grabbing a winner.