The more and more frequently Manchester United fall behind, the more I start to believe they’re not going to win. And initially when they fell 2-0 down at Aston Villa today I didn’t see them picking up 3 points at Villa Park.
Andreas Weimann doubled Aston Villa’s lead in the 50th minute at a time when Manchester United hadn’t threatened to score at any point. Being down 1-0 at half time, Sir Alex Ferguson had brought on Javier Hernandez for Ashley Young at half time to partner the Mexican up front with Robin van Persie, and Wayne Rooney dropping back a little.
Of course it would be the Little Pea who rescued Manchester United and for us to sing the praises of the manager who celebrated 26 years in charge earlier this week.
It was a botched defensive line that allowed Manchester United back into the game, as well as a good finish from Hernandez. Paul Scholes’ long ball from the half-way line saw the substitute played onside by Enda Stevens whilst the rest of his defensive team mates were a yard or so ahead of him. 2-1 and still over 30 minutes to play.
5 minutes later and the scores were level. Wayne Rooney fed a nice pass to Rafael down the right wing who’s cross to the back post was met by a volley from Javier Hernandez, deflected into his own goal helplessly by Ron Vlaar.
Weimann would have a chance for his hat trick later but would be denied by a good save from David de Gea.
In the last 20 minutes Aston Villa were looking tired and not closing down Manchester United in their own half as they had been previously., having spent most of the game chasing the ball. A winner was starting to look inevitable. Robin van Persie headed a corner onto the face of the cross bar and 47 seconds later a long range effort of his came back off the top of the bar.
It was a van Persie free kick in the final 5 minutes that saw Javier Hernandez pull off his marker and head home, giving Brad Guzan no chance in the Aston Villa goal.
David de Gea had to deal with some late crosses from the home side of which he made a good job with a number of solid punches as Manchester United held onto the 3 points and put pressure on both Chelsea and Manchester City who have tricky ties on Sunday.
In 17 games this season, Manchester United have trailed in 10 and gone on to win 8 of them. They came from behind to win just once in the Premier League alone last season.
The movement of Javier Hernandez has proven time and time again difficult for defences to deal with. What makes it worse, the Mexican doesn’t stop running.
As I wrote in my preview for this game, Aston Villa have turned the corner in recent weeks and they’re not relegation candidates any more. Were they ever? Ask Robbie Savage. Christian Benteke is a powerful goalscoring striker. He also brings his team mates into play and is looking like a good upgrade on Darren Bent as this side doesn’t have much in the way of playmakers who can sit the ball on a plate for the England striker.