Man United beats Villa 3-0 to halt league slump
Danny Welbeck’s double steered Manchester United to a 3-0
victory at Aston Villa on Sunday to halt a four-game winless run in
the Premier League.
The pressure eased on manager David Moyes as Welbeck sidefooted
in the opener in the 15th minute and the striker found the target
again inside three minutes.
”It was a good all-round team performance and everyone got
together and played good football and got the goals,” Welbeck told
broadcaster Sky Sports. ”Good strikers finish and that’s where I
want to play – up top, but I’m happy to play in the team whether on
the left or right.”
In a vibrant United display, Tom Cleverley netted his first goal
of the season seven minutes into the second half as the champions
avoided a third straight league loss.
The victory pushed United up to eighth place, 10 points behind
It was lapped up by a vocal away support, who chanted: ”We are
Villa Park is one of the most accommodating grounds for United,
which is unbeaten there since 1995.
The visitors helped themselves with their speed and intensity, a
sharp improvement on grim recent performances. Villa was unable to
match the tempo and left far too many open spaces for United
players to flood into.
Antonio Valencia gave defender Antonio Luna a miserable time,
and Rafael was able to surge to the byline and send over a superb
cross that was met perfectly by Adnan Januzaj.
The teenager’s header flashed past goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and
when it came bouncing back off a post, Welbeck was racing in to
apply a first-time finish to the rebound to put United in
Within three minutes, the visitors had struck again.
This time Valencia provided the opportunity, with Welbeck
sliding between defenders to touch home.
It was the perfect way for United to answer their critics, and
Welbeck to silence a few of his.
The England striker reveled in the responsibility of leading the
attacking line as Robin van Persie starts his month on the
sidelines, with Wayne Rooney dropping deep.
Rooney did skim the outside of a post after Valencia had opted
to pass rather than shoot after driving deep into the area.
Welbeck spurned a glorious chance to claim his first hat-trick
from a very similar position after Valencia had once again proved
too hot to handle.
It was an all-too-familiar story for Villa, for whom Christian
Benteke was a shadow of the striker who terrorized defenses
throughout last season.
Early in the second half, Rooney powered forward and slipped a
pass to Cleverley, who drove home his first Premier League goal in
almost a year.
”It plays on your mind when you’re a midfielder that you have
to score a few goals,” Cleverley told Sky Sports. ”We played as a
three, which gave us more license. A year of not scoring came out
in my celebration.
”I think I played quite well and kept the ball and kept us
ticking at a high tempo. I want to kick on from here now and so
does the team.”
After the goal, Cleverley was throwing himself in front of
Andreas Weimann’s shot as United attempted to preserve their
healthy advantage, a sign in itself of the determination in the
away ranks to right the wrongs of a dreadful few weeks.
The return of United midfielder Darren Fletcher from the bench
after almost 12 months out due to a chronic bowel condition merely
added to the party atmosphere among the away support.
United goalkeeper David De Gea denied Karim El Ahmadi after
Welbeck had earlier floated a chip onto the roof of Guzan’s goal
but by then, thousands of Villa fans had already started to head
for the exits.