Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United: Four Things We Learned

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Manchester United secured a vital 2-1 win against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa at Villa Park, with Rasmus Hojlund striking first for United in the opening half. However, a resilient second-half display saw the Red Devils clinch victory late on courtesy of Scott McTominay. Here are four key takeaways from United’s triumph in Birmingham.

Hojlund Keeps Scoring

At Old Trafford, a late goal against Aston Villa sparked both the team’s resurgence and Rasmus Hojlund’s goal-scoring streak. Since then, the Danish striker can’t seem to stop scoring. When he joined the club, Hojlund struggled, especially with his finishing in the Premier League. However, a simple tap-in, set up by Harry Maguire’s header after replacing Lisandro Martinez, marked his fifth goal in as many league games. He continued not only scoring, but scoring important goals, as the Dane once again scored the first goal of the match, giving United the initial lead. Hojlund’s form in 2024 deserves all the praise and it seems United are finally getting from him what they expected when they signed him from Atalanta.

Casemiro Struggles With The Pace

The midfield duo comprising Casemiro and Kobbie Mainoo showcased greatsynergy during the encounter against West Ham United. However, in the latest fixture, Casemiro, in particular, encountered difficulties in keeping pace with the game’s tempo. The Brazilian found himself unfairly cautioned in the first half, following an incident where he was adjudged to have fouled Matty Cash. Subsequent replays suggested that the Polish right-back may have gone down too easily, but still, it was Casemiro who was late and who seemed out of rhythm throughout. Since his recovery from injury, the Brazilian midfielder has experienced some good games, but his performance in the Midlands appeared to be beset by challenges.

United Keep Struggling In Second Halves

Paradoxically, leading up to United’s first-half goal, the Red Devils held the upper hand in the match. However, following that pivotal moment, they encountered significant difficulties, with Villa asserting their dominance. As the second half unfolded, despite a few opportunities for the Red Devils, Villa seized control and ultimately secured a well-deserved equaliser courtesy of Douglas Luiz. United faced big challenges in the second half, once again struggling to dictate the run of play in the latter stages of a match. The Villans will likely rue their missed opportunity, leaving the match without any points despite their dominant performance in which they had 23 shots, 10 of which went on target.

Onana And McTominay The Two Heroes

Man United’s triumph saw two stars shine bright: Scott McTominay, with his late match-winning goal, and Andre Onana, who stood tall with nine remarkable saves, thwarting Villa’s advances. Heading into the game, United understood the need for victory at Villa Park to keep their Champions League dreams alive, shrinking the gap to just five points. McTominay’s heroics, ignited by a sublime cross from Diogo Dalot, injected renewed hope for United’s top-four aspirations, sending the away fans into a frenzy. On the defensive end, Onana’s stellar performance, denying efforts from John McGinn and Ollie Watkins, showcased his resurgence and pivotal role in United’s resurgence. Despite earlier criticism, Onana’s recent form illustrates his improvement and it deserves praise.

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