Aston Villa Give Manchester United Nightmares At Theatre Of Dreams

Aston Villa have left Old Trafford with three points and a bag full of confidence after outwitting, outplaying and outsourcing Manchester United thanks to an 88th minute headed goal from defender Kortney Hause.

United were given an opportunity to spare their blushes in stoppage time, however, Bruno Fernandes smashed his penalty over the bar and into the Stretford End to cap a miserable afternoon for the men in red. 

The final 0-1 scoreline even flattered the home side, who should have found themselves two goals down at the half, but for some woeful finishing from the visitors. 

The second half picked up where the first finished, with United bereft of ideas to counter Villa’s high tempo and high press, as the Villains dominated all areas of the pitch.

United were hamstrung with injuries, losing Luke Shaw in the first half and Harry Maguire in the second, but once again manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed he has no Plan B when Plan A isn’t working, only bringing on Edinson Cavani in the 81st minute. 

The manager felt the teams cutting edge let them down, as they had 28 shots in the match, but never really threatened the Villa goal. 

“I thought we were very good in the transitions, defensively we won the ball in good positions and we attacked quickly. But when we got up there, the final decision, the final execution, the quality in the pass or the shot or decision wasn’t good enough to get goals. The game ebbed and flowed and was probably a good game for the neutrals but unfortunately, we didn’t get a goal.”

“Against us on the corner you see the inconsistencies again with VAR and decision making because [Ollie] Watkins is clearly standing on or is touching David [De Gea] as the header has gone so he is offside, or it is a foul. The linesman did well, he reported it or called it in to VAR, but they turned the decision down and it is a goal unfortunately so, bad decisions again.”

“We should have, could have, slowed the game down at times. But when you have attackers who are very good on transitions with speed and skill, sometimes the decision then was rushed. We didn’t have enough control even though we had 60 per cent possession, 30 shots or whatever. But we know Aston Villa are a good team on transition as well with Watkins, [John] McGinn and [Jacob] Ramsey running forward with the wing-backs. But that wasn’t what hurt us though. It was the corner kick at the end and unfortunately Bruno [Fernandes] with one of his very, very rare misses.”

After losing three of their past four matches, united are deservedly coming in for criticism, and now face a daunting week with Villareal in the Champions League before a home match with Everton next Saturday. 

“Every time you’re defeated, you have to stand up for yourselves, stand up for your team, fight for your team and we will. The boys will. It’s a big game, a Champions League night and we know we’ve started that group badly, but we’ll be ready.”

Anything less than two wins from two and talk of a crisis won’t be far away…

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