Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw his Manchester United being held to another frustrating draw as Aston Villa came away with a point from Old Trafford on Sunday.
Manchester United started the game brightly, with two half-chances falling to their stars. But, the lack of conversion came back to haunt the side as Aston Villa went on to take the lead, thanks to a brilliant effort from Jack Grealish. Villa thought they had doubled their lead but the offside flag was up way before the ball was put into the back of the net.
Marcus Rashford got his head to the ball inside the six-yard box and put it into the net from point-blank range thanks to some help from Aston Villa keeper Tom Heaton.
The second half saw a visible improvement from both sides as Manchester United chased the win. United got the lead from another set-piece, with Victor Lindelof’s header from the far post landing neatly into the other corner of the net. But, it did not take Villa long to claw United back. Tyrone Mings was played onside by Brandon Williams inside the box and the defender blasted the ball into the net.
The game ended 2-2 with a couple of point-blank skirmishes in the Aston Villa box. The result stretches United’s winless streak, with the Red Devils currently sitting just inside the top half of the Premier League table.
David de Gea – 6.5
There was nothing de Gea could do for either goals. But, he did come to the rescue on a couple of other occasions. Otherwise, the Spaniard did not have much to do. Needs to start organising his defence better as the United players looked clueless inside the box while defending set-pieces.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5.5
The first Aston Villa goal could be chalked down to a momentary lapse of judgement or concentration from Wan-Bissaka. The defender did go forward, but had very little impact. Needs to improve his crossing technique and accuracy. Had a fierce attempt at goal in the second half, but it was straight at Tom Heaton, who parried it away.
Victor Lindelof – 6.5
The entire back four looked shaky against Villa. It was a combination of the movement of the opposition players along with a sense of lethargy in the Manchester United defence. Lindelof though, was much better compared to others and his goal was invaluable, although United could not hold on to the lead for the three points.
Harry Maguire – 5.5
Not the kind of performances you come to expect from the most expensive defender in the world. Maguire has struggled to dominate games in a Manchester United shirt in recent times. Known for his heading prowess, he has been constantly underwhelming and hasn’t made his presence felt at all in the attacking set-pieces.
The number of times Maguire has been adjudged to have fouled an opponent on an attacking set-piece is really bonkers right now this season. Needs to improve.
Brandon Williams – 5
You should come to expect errors from a young lad who has just been incorporated into the first-team setup. He was to blame for the second Villa goal, knowingly or otherwise, playing Tyrone Mings onside in the box while all his peers were far ahead of him. Had he pushed a little far ahead, Mings would have been clearly offside. Needs to follow and read better.
Fred – 6
The Brazilian huffed and puffed through the game, challenging to get the ball back in midfield, trying to break the play and set up teammates to attack. But, sadly, he just can’t do it alone. Needs a stable partner in midfield to help bring the best out of him and Manchester United. Also needs to improve his shooting accuracy.
Andreas Pereira – 4
Honestly, the less said about Pereira the better. The performances that he has delivered over the last couple of months in a Manchester United shirt has been shocking and the only reason he is played by Solskjaer at this time is a lack of options owing to injuries to Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay. Did assist Rashford for the equaliser, but was absent apart from that.
Does nothing of note, loses possession in crucial areas and commits needless fouls in dangerous situations. Pereira is known for his set-piece ability, but hardly clears the first man. Needs to be removed from the list of regulars at Manchester United and fast.
Daniel James – 5.5
An off-night for the entire attack except Marcus Rashford. The Welshman was underwhelming to say the least and did not offer much going forward. James looked confused at times and even while taking on defenders.
Juan Mata – 5.5
It isn’t to say Juan Mata did not try. But, what Juan Mata did and tried to do either did not come off or just did not work. The Spaniard really seems to have regressed due to age over the last 12 months and Sunday showed why he is not a regular at Manchester United anymore.
Marcus Rashford – 7
Marcus Rashford has been directly involved in 12 Premier League goals in 19/20, that’s:
• 3rd highest in the league overall
• 2nd in the league among strikers
• more than any other U23 player
Statement season. 🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/FUMmI5f3Vg
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 1, 2019
The best player on the pitch alongside Jack Grealish. Rashford’s movement, his willingness to get on the ball and do something was unmatched by anyone else wearing a Manchester United shirt on Sunday. It seemed like the Englishman was left to fend for himself in attack, with Anthony Martial and James both having a stinker.
Did well for the goal, which might go down as a Heaton own-goal, and to create other opportunities for himself and teammates. Needs more support.
Anthony Martial – 5
Martial seemed out of his depth, strangely, on Sunday against Aston Villa. His movement was off and he didn’t do much whenever he got the ball. Tried to trouble Heaton a couple of times, but the keeper was up to the task. Manchester United cannot afford to have multiple players in attack not show up on the day, especially when their first-choice midfielders are out.
Jesse Lingard – 5
Did not influence proceedings much after coming on, especially on the day when he needed to with his movement to provide Rashford some support and freedom.
Luke Shaw – 5
Came on and in the space of minutes got himself booked. Genuinely looks like he is not ready for first-team action yet.
Mason Greenwood – N/A
Perhaps brought on a bit too late for Martial, who was absent for most of the game. Bringing him in straight after Villa’s equaliser instead of Lingard would have helped the team more. A wrong substitution from Solskjaer.