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December 3, 2011
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 40053
Fulltime at Villa Park as United record a comfortable 1-0 win. The visitors should probably have scrored a few more as though dominated from start to finish and move back up to second, five points behind Manchester City. Thanks for joining me today, hope you enjoyed the coverage.
90' + 3'
One last United attack comes to nothing as Rooney finds Nani on the left. Nani beats Albrighton, but his left-footed cross is poor.
The crowd were roaring in anticipation just then as Heskey marched towards the goal, but the big-striker's shot managed to go out for a throw-in.
Calls for an Aston Villa penalty there as Bent goes down under pressure from Vidic, but it was never a penalty as the striker ran into the back of the Serbian.
Good effort from Rooney as he plays a one-two with Carrick before volleying goalwards, but it goes just over.
Great move by United as Welbeck manages to dribble past three defenders, but on the back of one last trick, he takes the ball out of play. The striker has looked sharp since coming on.
Almost a very good move by United. Nani, on the left, finds Welbeck to his right before the striker looks for a one-two with Rooney, but on the return Collins plays the ball against Welbeck and out the ball goes for a goalkick.
Villa looking much more likely to create something than they have at any other time of the match. The hosts have managed to build some attacks on the back of set-pieces and they have looked dangerous.
Anders Lindegaard invites pressure on to United as he dawdles on the ball before being forced into conceding a throw-in.
United making their final change. Danny Welbeck on for Ashley Young.
Lindegaard once again called into action and pulls off a good stop. Villa's corner was hiked back in by Dunne as he kicked it over his own head and Collins met the ball with his forehead, forcing Lindegaard to tip it over. Good stop.
Bannan delivers a free-kick from deep. Lindegaard comes to meet it and gets a slight touch on it but concedes a corner.
Young tries his luck from range, but the low-effort whistles just past Guzan's right-hand post.
Good play by Valencia once again as he eases past Warnock before chipping a cross in, but Nani can't quite reach it with his head.
Corner for United, but it could've been a penalty had Valencia been a little less honest. The Ecuadorian burst in between Warnock and Dunne into the area, and although there appeared to be a slight bit of contact, the winger continued and crossed. The corner comes to nothing.
What a chance for Villa! Dunne flicked on the corner at the front-post and Heskey came in at the back-post, but he some how missed the target with his header.
Brief moment of Villa pressure as Warnock smashes a ball to the far post that is headed back towards Agbonlahor, but he puts his volley over thanks to a deflection.
Heskey with his first involvement since coming on. Albrighton gets the better of Evra for the first time in the match and delivers across, but Heskey's far-post header is so easy for Lindegaard.
Whenever the hosts manage to get a little bit of possession, they can't do much with it and lose it soon after gaining it. Their ball-retention in the midfield has been awful.
There's been another injury stoppage as Jermaine Jenas is carried off on a stretcher. Meanwhile Heskey is on for Jenas and Giggs is on for Ferdinand, meaning Jones drops back into defence.
Agbonlahor crosses from the left with his right-foot and a deflection almost diverts it into the bottom far corner of the net, but Lindegaard got down well to save it.
Brilliant last-ditch tackle from Warnock! Rooney slid the ball past Collins and looked as though he was about strike, but Warnock slid across to deny him.
The visitors are looking very dangerous here. Valencia did well to beat Warnock before playing a simple pass to Nani. The Portuguese winger tricked past Dunne, but his shot was blocked by Collins.
Nani plays in a decent cross, but no one was there to get on the end of it. That has been the only problem with United's front four at times as there hasn't always been someone in the area.
Corner swung in, but Vidic rises the highest and flicks the ball away with his head.
Agbonlahor wins a corner as he looks to beat Smalling, but the impressive defender gets back to block the attempted cross.
United had the perfect chance to counter-attack there, but Valencia's pass to Nani was very, very poor.
Strike from range, courtesy of Wayne Rooney as the striker nut-megs Bannan before shooting just wide. The shot did take a slight deflection, but the referee didn't see it.
Bannan searches out Agbonlahor from afar, but the pass was a poor one. Agbonlahor doesn't hesitate to get his point across, flailing his arms around.
And we're off again for the second half.
@sameerva isn't impressed by United despite their dominance, pointing out: "uniteds lack of midfield options is evident tonight!! 10 yrs back this kind of dominance would hv meant 10 goals."
45' + 8'
Halftime at Villa Park as United lead 1-0. Very simple first half for the visitors, although they haven't created too many clear-cut chances. Despite not creating too many chances, United have been utterly dominant, so how will Villa get back into this? Tell me what you think on twitter at @RyRyBenson.
45' + 7'
Young's corner comes to nothing and is dealt with easily by Villa, but Valencia win's another corner as his cross is deflected behind by Warnock.
45' + 6'
Nani smashes the free-kick goalwards, but it hits the wall and goes out for a corner.
45' + 5'
United with a free-kick around 10 yards outside the Villa area after a foul on Jones, although it was a quite blatant dive from the teenager.
45' + 3'
Young's corner is cleared by Dunne. Eventually the ball comes back out to Young who passes short to Jones, but the goalscorer's cross is cleared easily.
45' + 2'
Some nice link-up play between Nani and Young in the centre of the Villa half as they somehow manage to ease their way past about four players. Evra wins a corner.
Following the various injury stoppages, a massive eight minutes of injury time have been added here.
United win a free-kick in the centre-circle as Young beats Hutton to Nani's clever pass. The match is petering out for halftime here.
Villa finally get out of their own half. Albrighton swings a ball in from the right with his left foot, but a combination of Vidic and Lindegaard get the ball away before Bent can nod it in at the far post.
United were almost through again! Rooney did well to lay the ball on for the charging Jones, but the former Blackburn man's forward pass to Nani was slightly off target.
Bad news for Aston Villa here as Shay Given is being forced off the pitch with a hamstring injury picked up when he charged out to meet a wayward United pass. Brad Guzan set to replace the Irishman.
United are playing some very nice football here with the midfield duo constantly keeping the ball moving. The movement of United's attackers has also been first-class with Rooney, Nani, Young and Valencia causing all sorts of problems so far.
A short break here as Darren Bent picks up a knock, but looks as though he'll be able to continue for the time being.
Good effort from Valencia there as the Ecuadorian goes for goal from some thirty yards, but it goes just wide of the top-left corner.
Very good pressure from Jones as the England international charges down a Given clearance, but luckily for Villa he only got a slight block on it and Bannan takes possession.
United nearly through again as Rooney passes forward for Nani, but the pass had just a little too much on it, otherwise he would've had a great chance.
Bannan delivers a free-kick from deep towards the far post, but Dunne's header goes well wide under pressure from Evra.
Nearly a second for United! Brilliant link-up between Nani, Valencia and Rooney. Rooney picks out Valencia to his right after robbing possession. Valencia chips the ball to the back post for Nani who heads towards goal, but Given parries it away.
First chance for Villa from the corner. Dunne leapt to win the first header, then Herd got a header of his own in, but out came Lindegaard to meet it. Easy for the Dane.
Villa win a corner as Evra carelessly puts the ball out of play when looking for Lindegaard.
Goal Phil Jones
GOAL!!!! Manchester United take the lead and Phil Jones scores his first Premier League goal! Evra did well to release Nani down the left and the winger produced a very good cross for Jones to place past Given. Good goal and it is no less than the visitors have deserved.
Nani links up well with Rooney in the centre before the ball finds it's way to Valencia. Corner United.
Young finds Nani to his left. The Portuguese skips past Bannan and Herd with ease before laying the ball off to Jones, but his shot goes well over.
Nani has once again down well to bring the ball down in the area, but his footing didn't help him as he slipped just after controlling it.
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Nani appears to be the man who has moved behind Rooney, and it was the Portuguese winger who has had the first shot of the night. The winger picked the ball out of the air very well before beating Collins with his trickery, but his curling shot was awful as it went high and wide.
The change is made and Valencia comes on for the injured Mexican.
Danny Welbeck was originally getting ready to come on, but it appears Luis Antonio Valencia will be the man to come on. Nani likely to revert to the left, Valencia to the right and Young in behind Rooney.
After an incredibly slow opening stage in this match, something has happened, but unfortunately it is an injury. Javier Hernandez is down and asking to come off after turning on his ankle. Looks as though the Mexican is set to be replaced by Danny Welbeck. Massive blow for United.
Slow start so far. Neither side managing to hold on to the ball for more than a few seconds at the moment as the two sides spar.
We're underway at Villa Park.
Just before the match gets underway, the two teams and supporters will have a minute of applause in memory of the former Premier League footballer and Wales manager Gary Speed, who tragically died at the age of 42 years-old last Sunday.
Sir Alex Ferguson has also made three changes from United's last fixture as Chris Smalling replaces Fabio Da Silva in the backline, while Phil Jones steps into the midfield for Ryan Giggs and Anders Lindegaard starts in goal with David De Gea rested for the Champions League in midweek.
Alex McLeigh has named three changes from the side that drew with Swansea last weekend. Fabian Delph, Emile Heskey and Charles N'Zogbia are replaced by Jermaine Jenas, Barry Bannan and Mark Albrighton.
Aston Villa have won only one of the last 33 meetings against United, but does that count for anything? How do you think this match will end up? Think United will grab an easy win, or do you anticipate a Villa home-win? Send your thoughts to me at @RyRyBenson on twitter.
The Manchester United team is: Lindegaard, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Jones, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Young, Hernandez Subs: De Gea, Evans, Giggs, Park, Welbeck, Fletcher, Valencia
The Aston Villa line-up for today is: Given, Hutton, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Jenas, Herd, Bannan, Albrighton, Bent, Agbonlahor Subs: Guzan, Ireland, Delph, Heskey, Petrov, Clark, Cuellar
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary of Aston Villa versus Manchester United. I am Ryan Benson and I will be describing the action for you tonight.
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