Bruno Fernandes missed a rare penalty while Kortney Hause and Tyrone Mings were colossal as Aston Villa beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Manchester United were in control of the proceedings pretty much from the get-go, but never really managed to make their dominance count. In fact, the first big chance of the game fell to Aston Villa, as some poor defending by Luke Shaw saw Matt Targett being set up for a point-blank range effort, only for the full-back to blaze his shot over the crossbar.
Some more sloppiness gave Ollie Watkins a golden opportunity to score his first goal of the season, only for the English international to produce a tame effort. Manchester United then ended the first half strongly, but Harry Maguire’s thumping header was parried away by Emiliano Martinez. Post the interval, it was more of the same until the dying embers of the game.
From an 88th minute corner by Douglas Luiz, Kortney Hause rose the highest to head the ball and hand Aston Villa a deserved lead. Speaking of hand, moments later, Hause handled the ball from a cross by Bruno Fernandes to concede a penalty, setting up a mouthwatering finale to the game.
The mystery surrounding Manchester United’s penalty taking duties was finally cleared as Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take the spot-kick, only to send his effort flying over the crossbar, which meant Villa held on to eke out the 1-0 win, handing the hosts their first Premier League defeat of the season. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
David de Gea: 6/10
Another solid showing by de Gea, who made a couple of big saves to keep Manchester United in the game as long as he could. Did well to come out of a tricky situation with a smart save to deny Ollie Watkins after being put under undue pressure from a back pass by Harry Maguire before denying the Aston Villa striker again in the second half. Could not have done anything to deny Aston Villa their goal.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
A tricky outing beckoned Wan-Bissaka against a marauding Aston Villa side, but he was up to the task at hand. Used his athleticism well to make some big interceptions and cut out dangerous plays while winning nine duels over the course of the game. Output in the final third, though, was rather disappointing.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Harry Maguire once again appeared to be shaky at times, but Varane was composure personified at the heart of the Manchester United defence. The Frenchman won five duels while completing two clearances, interceptions and tackles each. A bit wasteful on the ball in the wake of some relentless pressing by Aston Villa’s frontmen.
Harry Maguire: 5/10
The first half was quite eventful for Harry Maguire, who nearly gifted Aston Villa a goal thanks to a poor back pass. On the opposite end, he popped up with a superbly glanced header, which was saved brilliantly by Emiliano Martinez. Picked up a calf strain early in the second half but soldiered on for a few minutes before being taken off for Victor Lindelof.
34’: Luke Shaw forced off
67’: Harry Maguire forced off
Two injuries to Manchester United’s back line ? pic.twitter.com/trY0iOCpnt
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 25, 2021
Luke Shaw: 5/10
A frustrating afternoon for Shaw, who last just over half an hour in the game. Prior to being taken off, the English international struggled to get used to the pace of the game and was also culpable of conceding the first big chance of the game. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be sweating over his fitness big time now.
Scott McTominay: 6/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, McTominay was a solid presence in the middle of the park for Manchester United and was also one of the few players who did not lose the ball cheaply. Did not get beaten for pace either but struggled to progress the ball forward at a quick tempo.
Another mixed bag of a performance by Fred, who was sloppy on the ball yet again but provided a fair bit of solidity through the middle, with most of Aston Villa’s moves being created through the wide areas. Made a number of recoveries when the visitors did look to pass through the middle, but there were some tricky moments as well.
Mason Greenwood: 7/10
A bundle of energy, Greenwood made use of his free role really well, although he did not quite have his scoring boots on this time around. Still, the teenage prodigy looked like the only Manchester United player who could have found the back of the net. Even sent a few dangerous passes into the six yard box, only to have no one meeting those balls.
Bruno Fernandes: 5/10
Paul Pogba was not really in his elements in the first half, which meant that Bruno Fernandes was often solely responsible for carving out the openings. This made Aston Villa’s job of shutting the gates easier, although the Portuguese playmaker still played a staggering 10 key passes. The penalty miss, though, was inexplicable and it will be interesting to see if he remains on penalty duties.
Bruno Fernandes created 10 chances vs. Aston Villa, no player has created more in a single Premier League game since he made his debut.
Just a shame he couldn’t finish his own chance from the spot… ? pic.twitter.com/fIPeTGT11K
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 25, 2021
Paul Pogba: 5/10
Often a creative force for Manchester United, Pogba endured a difficult start to the game, struggling to produce anything meaningful in the entire first half. It was more of the same post the break, but Pogba did come close with a couple of efforts. Solskjaer will need more on the creative front from him, though.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6/10
Once again leading the line for Manchester United, Ronaldo just could not get into the game for large parts, with his efforts being rather hopeful as well, more than anything else. Other teams might have been given a template of shutting him out of the game hereon out.
Diogo Dalot: 6/10
Dalot would not have expected to make an appearance at all in this game, but was brought on in place of the injured Shaw. The Portuguese international proved to be quite an outlet in the final third, although he could not create much with his weaker foot. Defended diligently for the most part, winning six of the seven duels he contested.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
On for the injured Maguire, Lindelof settled in well alongside Varane and did not concede any big opening to Aston Villa.
Edinson Cavani: 5/10
A late introduction, Cavani was brought on to provide an additional presence in the opposition box. Instead, it was his poor reaction to Hause’s movement inside the Manchester United box that gave the Aston Villa defender clear space before he headed in the winner. His movement did earn his team a penalty, but it did not really matter.
Emiliano Martinez: 7/10
Martinez once again showed just how brilliant an addition he has been for Aston Villa. On Saturday, he was largely asked to make regulation stops inside his box, although the save to deny Harry Maguire was top class. His trash talk to Bruno Fernandes late on was reminiscent of the one against Yerry Mina in Copa America, and it looks like it did the trick in the end.
Ezri Konsa: 7/10
Stationed on the right side of the three-man central defensive unit, Konsa produced a largely solid performance, although he did face a couple of troublesome moments against Mason Greenwood. Overall, though, it was a decent display, complete with four clearances and three blocks while his passing was precise.
Kortney Hause: 8/10
On the back of a solid showing against Chelsea in the midweek cup fixture, Hause earned a start on Saturday. And the 26-year-old continued from where he had left off last time out, shutting Cristiano Ronaldo out of the game during open play. The cherry on top, though, was his perfectly glanced header to win Aston Villa the game, although he nearly went from hero to zero only to be bailed out by Bruno Fernandes.
Aston Villa's 1st win v Man Utd in 1️⃣8️⃣ PL games and only their 2nd win in their last 34 League visits to Old Trafford (since 1983) pic.twitter.com/SE02YSczoS
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 25, 2021
Tyrone Mings: 8/10
Took the responsibility of negating Cristiano Ronaldo in the air, doing so superbly for the most part. Otherwise, Mings was also nothing short of superb in organising the Aston Villa defensive setup. His personal figures were remarkable as well – five clearances, four blocks and three interceptions. What a leader.
Matty Cash: 7/10
Cash has been one of the form players for Aston Villa early in the season and this was another impressive showing, even if some of his passes ended up being wasteful. Ought to have earned an assist for the bending cross towards Matt Targett, only for his wing-back partner to miss the target.
John McGinn: 7/10
A typically industrious showing by McGinn, who was a nuisance on both ends of the pitch. One lung-busting run to deny Manchester United and Greenwood on the counter just typified what he is all about, as he led the job of harrying the hosts’ attacking players in the second line of press.
Douglas Luiz: 7/10
Luiz was as Luiz usually is when he is at his best. The Brazilian international constantly looked to set off blazing counter-attacking moves while proving to be a solid customer at the base of the three-man midfield unit. Played a team-high three key passes, with one of his chances being converted by Hause for the winner.
Jacob Ramsey: 7/10
The Aston Villa midfielders were critical in ensuring that Manchester United were largely listless in the game, and Ramsey was a key proponent of the aggressive pressing that the visitors produced all throughout. On top of that, the fact that he only misplaced three passes meant Villa’s counters were efficient for the most part and took the pressure off the defenders.
Matt Targett: 6/10
Got the best chance of the first quarter of the game falling his way, only to inexplicably miss from point-blank range. Thereafter, Targett proved to be a major outlet high up the pitch, although he did not really relish coming up against Greenwood. His passing was sub-par as well, as he only completed 52 percent of his attempted passes.
Danny Ings: 7/10
With Aston Villa being set up the way they were, Ings had way more defensive work to do than that in the final third. And the English striker did put in the hard yards, making a couple of tackles and interceptions while also getting a block in. Never had a chance coming his way, but this was still a job well done.
Ollie Watkins: 5/10
Watkins was the only Aston Villa player who managed to test David de Gea, but this was a game to forget in the final third. Produced a bizarre shot from close range after being inadvertently gifted the ball by the Manchester United no. 1 while the second effort was well saved. Like his strike partner, though, Watkins worked extremely hard on the day.
Emiliano Buendia: N/A
On for Ings, Buendia played a key pass late on, but did not have much time to make a major impact.
Cameron Archer: N/A
A late introduction as Aston Villa chased a win. Did not get into the game, only getting one touch on the ball.