Manchester United 0-1 Aston Villa: Three Things We Learned

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Manchester United are stopped again. After a good run of matches in the Premier League, the Red Devils have lost their first match in this competition this season, which is their third loss in the last four games in all competitions. After Young Boys and West Ham, Man United now failed against Aston Villa, which is their second loss at Old Trafford this week, at the hands of Kortney Hause’s late goal.

With United having just around six or seven minutes to equalise after conceding the goal, they had a great chance to do it, but Bruno Fernandes’ penalty went high over the bar – the way United managed to win against West Ham last Sunday, the same way they fail to get a draw this time around. Here is what we learned from this match.

Man United Play With Two Holding Midfielders At Old Trafford

Manchester United started the match at home, against Aston Villa, with two holding midfielders. That is not a surprise by any measure, as that is what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prefers. But there are two things to learn from that. The first is that Man United might have improved their squad with some big name signings, but they have not altered their mentality accordingly. Choosing to go with both Fred and Scott McTominay shows the lack of proper structure that could allow United to play with one holding midfielder and find ways to be way more dangerous when playing at home with one of the most expensive sides in world football. The other thing is that, despite Solskjaer’s urging to play with two classic holders in front of the back four, Man United still find it hard to stop opposition from creating chances. And Villa did create them yesterday. United were open and the visitors had the better chances in the first half, through Targett and Konsa who missed opportunities from close range. That is simply not good enough for this team.

Devils Are Far From Great Performances

This is not something that is tough to say today, but it is a wider picture that does not focus solely on this match against Villa. When Aaron Wan-Bissaka got sent off against Young Boys in Champions League opener, not many have expected United will go on such a poor run of form. There were no great performances, despite the win at West Ham, which was again provided by individual brilliance of Jesse Lingard and David de Gea, rather than the system. Against West Ham and Aston Villa we have seen plenty of problems (and yes, we know the manager changed most of his starting XI this midweek). Also, there were some other good results this season when United did not shine, such as the one against Wolverhampton, when they were lucky to get all three points. Looking overall at the entire season so far, there is still a long way to go for this team and hopefully Solskjaer will be able to make the team go on such a path.

Bruno Fails Under Pressure

It was interesting to see Man United get a penalty with both Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch. But the pecking order this time was such that the younger of the two Portuguese stars was taking the penalty. We do not know whether Bruno failed to score under the pressure of Emiliano Martinez provoking him to let Cristiano take the penalty, or was it the fact that Ronaldo himself was behind him. Anyway, Fernandes’ shot was one of his worst from the spot since joining the club, meaning United lost the game, but also giving Solskjaer food for thought whether to let Ronaldo take the penalties from now on…

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