Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood were the star performers as Manchester United continued their excellent form by securing a 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
Manchester United extended their winning run to four Premier League games following yet another comfortable 4-0 victory over Aston Villa, which has helped them cut the gap to Leicester City to just one point after Arsenal held them to a 1-1 draw earlier in the week.
The Red Devils endured a difficult start to the game, with Villa defending in deep blocks. Dean Smith’s men seemed to have had their homework in order, barely providing any space for the attackers to work with. However, a controversial penalty decision just before the half-hour mark, which was successfully converted by Bruno Fernandes, opened the deadlock.
Manchester United are the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive matches by a margin of 3+ goals:
🔴 3-0 vs. Sheffield United
🔴 3-0 vs. Brighton
🔴 5-2 vs. Bournemouth
🔴 3-0 vs. Aston Villa
Ole’s relentless reds. 🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/6daMK22jyg
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 9, 2020
Thereafter, Manchester United had very little difficulty dominating the Aston Villa defence. They looked fluent and lucid in their build-up and created numerous opportunities in the final third.
As a result, Mason Greenwood almost killed the game late at the stroke of half-time through an excellent finish before Paul Pogba added more gloss to the scoreline around the hour mark. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Manchester United stars following their victory over the Villans last night.
David de Gea: 5/10
It was another relatively quiet evening for David de Gea as Aston Villa provided very little threat. He had to make only one notable save, although the Spaniard was lucky to have Trezeguet’s effort hit the bar. A clean sheet is what matters while the personal milestone of becoming the club’s leading overseas appearance-maker was satisfying as well.
David De Gea now has more Manchester United appearances than Peter Schmeichel 🔴 pic.twitter.com/sgdoktIvNK
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 9, 2020
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
Aaron Wan-Bissaka had an edgy start to the game as he desperately tried to provide inspiration on the right flank with his service. However, he missed a glorious opportunity from which he should have scored. The Englishman also lacked the solidity we’d usually expect, meaning his second half substitution was rather unsurprising.
Victor Lindelof: 7.5/10
Lindelof started ahead of Eric Bailly despite picking up a back problem in the last game. And with that in mind, the Swede performed rather well, making an excellent clearance early on in the game when Aston Villa were pushing forward. His passing game also looked brilliant, although he could have been a lot more convincing with his overall defensive game.
Harry Maguire: 7.5/10
Harry Maguire had a mixed performance against Aston Villa. The ex-Leicester City centre-back did not exactly manage to impose his dominance when the Villans were pushing forward. He did, however, offer a lot of ice-cold passes from the back.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
Luke Shaw looked rather unconvincing, at times, which was understandable, having been an ever-present figure in the Manchester United lineup since the restart. The ex-Southampton starlet could have provided a greater threat on the flanks, but he was bright nonetheless, making two interceptions and amassing four key passes.
Shaw certainly deserves a breather in the next game as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to cope with a strenuous schedule in the month of July.
Nemanja Matic: 7/10
Nemanja Matic continued his incredible run of form with yet another composed display in the middle of the park. The Serb played an indispensable role in minimising Aston Villa’s attacking potential with his brilliant understanding of the game and unrivalled commitment.
He provided the defensive support that helped Manchester United keep a clean sheet against the Villans. Matic’s passing game, however, wasn’t as bright as other games and the midfielder should receive a breather in the next fixture.
Paul Pogba: 9/10
In a game where Manchester United struggled to find early answers, Paul Pogba was by far the most influential player on the pitch. While Aston Villa were employing a rigid defensive shape, the Frenchman’s incredible passing range, combined with his seemingly telepathic understanding with Bruno Fernandes, helping Manchester United open up the opposing backline.
Paul Pogba’s game by numbers vs. Aston Villa:
91% pass accuracy
8 ball recoveries
8/8 long passes
3 chances created
2 through balls
1 big chance created
What a performance. 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/IVaTAZNgJ6
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 9, 2020
It was evident in the third goal when a clever set-piece routine between him and Fernandes saw the ex-Juventus sensation score from outside the box. Aside from the goal, Pogba was also influential in breaking up the play, notably recovering eight balls.
Mason Greenwood: 8.5/10
When Manchester United were initially struggling to breach the Aston Villa press, it was Greenwood who looked the sharpest attacker. His ability to run with the ball without any fear, combined with his acceleration and pace made him a complete menace for the opposition.
Eventually, the youngster netted his 16th goal of the season through an excellent run and finish, deep in added time of first-half. At this rate, Greenwood could easily become the answer to United’s offensive problems next season.
Bruno Fernandes: 8/10
Bruno Fernandes did not have a lot of freedom during the early stages of the game and understandably so. But, a calm and composed effort to convert the penalty served as a catalyst for another rampant display that followed from Manchester United.
Indeed, it was a charismatic display from the Portuguese international, whose link-up with Pogba and overall creativity in the final third was appealing, to say the least.
💥 @B_Fernandes8 has been directly involved in 1️⃣3️⃣ goals in his first 🔟 #PL matches for @ManUtd (7 goals & 6 assists) – the joint-most of any player in their first 10 PL apps, along with Mick Quinn (13) pic.twitter.com/RKkpsaRS0A
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 10, 2020
Marcus Rashford: 6/10
Marcus Rashford was sketchy once again, failing to provide the spark in the Manchester United attack. The English international looked sloppy, although he did lack a bit of support from left-back Shaw. He did improve in the second half, but was surely not one of United’s best performers in this fixture.
Anthony Martial: 8/10
Anthony Martial wasn’t very influential in the game up until the moment when he won the ball in midfield before covering a lot of ground to continue the counter-attack that led to the goal by Greenwood. His work-rate was phenomenal and his determination is something Manchester United fans have never seen before.
Scott McTominay: 7.5/10
Scott McTominay provided much more freshness and energy in the holding midfield role after replacing Matic in the 66th minute. He helped Manchester United avoid any late complication as the Red Devils cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Brandon Williams: 7/10
Had to adjust into the right-back slot after replacing Wan-Bissaka in what was a rather bizarre substitution. But, Williams did the job well, looking lively and notably making an excellent block.
Fred provided fresh legs in midfield when he came on at the expense of a tiring Bruno Fernandes in the 71st minute. The Brazilian kept things in tip-top shape in the middle of the park.
Odion Ighalo: N/A
Replaced Martial in the 79th minute but didn’t necessarily get any scoring opportunities. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Daniel James: N/A
Another late replacement made by Solskjaer as he took off Greenwood. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.