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February 1, 2011
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 75256
W. Rooney 1', 45'
N. Vidić 64'
D. Bent 59'
90' + 3'
FULL TIME! All over and Manchester United maintain their five point lead at the top of the table. Goals by Vidic and a Rooney brace secured the points, despite Bent's goal for Villa. That's all from me but stay with Goal.com for all tonight's match reports, ratings and reaction.
90' + 2'
Villa keep going until the end. A dangerous ball in by Young but O'Shea heads out for a corner under pressure.
Into THREE minutes of added time at the end of the game...
Great save from Friedel! Again it's Rooney who lets fly with a vicious shot but the American turns it away to deny the striker his hat-trick goal.
Early shot from Rooney as he eyes that hat-trick but he scoops it just wide!
Agbonlahor wins a corner for Villa. Young takes the kick, but it's a great catch from Van der Sar who rises highest to claim.
Great save from Freidel! He does brilliantly to deny Nani. However, the ball falls perfectly for Berbatov on the edge of the six yard box and somehow he conspires to blast it high into the stands!
Danger for Villa as Nani again tricks his way into the danger area but he can't find Rooney and again the attack breaks down.
Final change for Villa as Reo-Coker comes on for Downing. Suggestion that Downing has picked up a knock, with Houllier looking a touch concerned on the sidelines.
Decent effort from Nani who thunders a shot goalwards, it's a wayward effort though and Friedel watches it fly into the stands.
Chance for the hat-trick from Rooney! O'Shea plays a ball over the top but, the striker is onto it but he just stumbles in the box and the danger disappears!
Another change for Villa: off goes Petrov and on comes Agbonlahor. He's gone out to the right, Young on the left with Downing infield with Makoun. Petrov does not look impressed to have been substituted.
Another chance goes begging for United! Giggs slides a delicious ball across goal and Berbatov just misses at the far post!
Clark is a lucky boy. He rather cynically drags Nani down. The referee gives the free-kick but opts to keep his cards in his pocket.
Great effort from Young! The Villa winger shaves the woodwork with a super shot! Heskey has arrived for Albrighton by the way.
Giggs causing all sorts of problems now. He chips into the box but Villa get it away. Heskey on the touchline is stripped and looks about to join the fray.
Good chance for Villa! The visitors try to respond immediately and win a corner. Dunne, heads back across goal and the ball hits the back of the bar before going over!
Assist Wayne Rooney
Goal Nemanja Vidic
GOAL! Vidic makes it 3-1 to Manchester United! Rooney turns provider, holding the ball up well before laying it back to the defender who smashes the ball past Friedel!
Good interplay by Giggs and Rooney but they can't quite tee up Berbatov. A bit more urgency in United's play suddenly after that Villa goal.
Assist Stewart Downing
Goal Darren Bent
GOAL! Bent scores with a simple finish from eight yards after good work from Downing. He plays the ball to Bent who finishes first time and it's game on at Old Trafford.
Activity on the Aston Villa bench and it's little surprise to see Heskey and Agbonlahor warming up.
Free-kick in dangerous area after O'Shea fouls Albrighton and a chance for Villa. Up steps Young, he gets the ball over the wall...and over the bar.
Albrighton sends in a cross trying to find Bent but Ferdinand hooks the ball clear. Still a lack of a cutting edge from the visitors, despite plenty of possession.
Makoun is seeing plenty of the ball in these opening minutes of the second half. Villa trying to get an early goal to get back into this match but yet to work Van der Sar since the break.
Great challenge by Makoun! The new Villa signing does superbly to tackle Giggs just as he looked set to waltz his way into the box.
Nani crosses and a stretching Dunne just manages to get the ball away for a corner. The ball is chipped into the near post by Nani but it's a poor kick and Dunne can clear.
Villa want a penalty! Great break from Albrighton who runs fully 60 yards before finding Bent. However, the striker goes down under pressure from Evra but the referee waves play on!
No changes for either side for this second half as United get this second half underway.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME! United lead at the break courtesy of those two goals from Rooney, one at the very start of the half and a second in stoppage time. Villa, have a mountain to climb, can they get back in it? Join me after the break to find out.
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! Rooney bags his second in the last minute of the half! A great cross from Nani finds the striker who finishes brilliantly. Awful marking from Villa, but great strike by two-goal Rooney.
Late chance for Villa after Makou wins a free-kick. Downing takes it but he can't beat Evra who heads clear. However, the ball comes back to Albrighton who whips the ball in but the flag is up for offside
Great stuff from Berbatov who outpaces Walker, speeds into the box and finds Rooney but he can't get it over Friedel.
Chance for Villa on the break. Downing finds Petrov but again the build-up is too slow and United can get men back and win the ball back. More pace needed from the visitors if they are to trouble this United defence you feel.
Giggs, again, tries to find Berbatov but again Collins is there to intercept.
Great ball from Giggs who finds Evra. The full back shoots, Friedel can only parry but fortunately for Villa it doesn't quite fall for Berbatov and the visitors escape!
Moment of danger for Villa as Rooney brings a ball out of the air and looks to go for goal but Collins does well to deny the striker.
Change for Manchester United. Fletcher can't continue, he's going off and Anderson is coming on, presume it's to do with that head injury. Disappointment for the Scot on his 27th birthday.
More treatment for Fletcher, who sustained that earlier cut, he seems to be bleeding again and will have to go off briefly to have that attended to.
Rooney tries to dink the ball into Berbatov but Collins is there to head clear. Villa then counter with Downing who finds Albrighton who tries a shot-cum-cross which misses Bent and instead finds Van der Sar.
Good play by Giggs! Rooney finds the veteran with a quick throw, he dummies once, twice before shooting right-footed but he can't beat Friedel who saves well.
Downing, who is seeing plenty of the ball at the moment, finds Makou. He tries to feed the ball into Bent but the pass is poor and United regain possession.
Manchester United are wearing black armbands tonight - tonight's match is the closest home game to the Munich anniversary, which is on Sunday.
Villa enjoy a good spell of possession and work the ball out to Downing on the right. He has options around him but opts to shoot but it's deflected out of play.
Fabio Capello is at Old Trafford tonight watching the action, ahead of the forthcoming internationals. He's sitting next to Mick McCarthy - of course United take on Wolves on Saturday.
So close to 2-0 for United! Nani hits a wonderful left-footed shot but Friedel is equal to the effort and does well to make the save, diving low to his left.
Aston Villa win their first corner of the game. The ball is played in by Young and finds Dunne but it's a poor header, more of a clearance than a chance on goal!
Suddenly Villa break and race downfield on the counter-attack. Bent manages to get another shot on target but again it's far too easy for Van der Sar.
Nani leaves Clark for dead and then goes down in the box after Dunne comes across to challenge. The home fans scream for a penalty but the referee, correctly, waves the appeals away.
More attacking intent from United with Rooney sending in a deep cross but he's put far too much on it and Friedel plucks in comfortably out of the air.
Fletcher has picked up a knock to his face, he looks as though he has a cut on his forehead, and has to go off which leaves United temporarily down to 10.
The hosts are looking comfortable at the moment. Villa are seeing plenty of the ball but United are not letting them anywhere near Van der Sar's goal so far.
First sight of goal for Darren Bent. He does well to beat Ferdinand but just scuffs his shot which makes it easy for Van der Sar.
Nani has to go off for a bit of treatment after picking up a knock on his ankle. He's hobbling a little but should be OK to continue.
Walker wants a free-kick after tangling with Evra but nothing doing. Nani then finds Rooney who crosses for Berbatov, who appears to push Walker over, but again the referee waves play on!
Nani and Berbatov combine. The ball comes back to the Portuguese who fires at goal but it's over the bar and doesn't trouble Friedel.
The visitors looking a bit stunned, as well they might, after that early goal. They enjoy a brief spell of possession as they try to recover from that early setback.
Unbelievable start for the hosts! Great credit to Van der Sar who spotted Rooney on a one-on-one and the striker looked like his old self smashing the ball past Friedel with a great volley!
Assist Edwin van der Sar
Goal Wayne Rooney
And we're off! And with less than 50 seconds played Manchester United score! Van der Sar plays a great ball to Rooney who hammers the ball past Friedel! What a start for United!
For the visitors, new signings Darren Bent and Jean Makoun both start but the game comes too soon for Michael Bradley who is not even on the bench. Brad Friedel is in goal, and in doing so becomes the oldest player in Villa's history.
Some quick teams news before we kick-off. The hosts make major changes from the team that beat Southampton in the FA Cup. Rio Ferdinand is back to partner Vidic, Rafael is still out so John O'Shea is at right back and Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney start up front with Javier Hernandez on the bench.
Aston Villa: Friedel; Walker, Collins, Dunne, Clark; Albrighton, Makoun, Petrov, Downing; A Young; Bent. Subs: Marshall, Heskey, Agbonlahor, Pires, Delfouneso, Reo-Coker, Cuellar.
Manchester United: Van der Sar; O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Smalling, Fabio, Anderson, Scholes, Owen, Hernandez.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com as we bring you live coverage of Manchester United’s clash with Aston Villa. The league leaders will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten run tonight but they’ve made life hard for themselves in recent games, having to come from behind against Blackpool and Southampton. Villa, meanwhile, have won three on the bounce and will be hoping to become the first team to win at Old Trafford in the league this season. Can they do it? Find out here as all the action is on its way…
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