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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Aston Villa Vs. Manchester United Post Match Talk

Sir Alex Ferguson believes United's forwards have really hit form after the Reds scored four goals for the second game running.

Speaking after United demolished Aston Villa 4-1 in their "best performance of the season", the boss acknowledged it had taken a while for his forward line to click into gear.

"I think there's been a disappointment that we haven't scored more goals," said Sir Alex.

"That's a big surprise considering the players we have but Tevez and Anderson missed pre-season so it took them a while to get the fitness needed at this level. Rooney missed the first four games of the season and Ronaldo was suspended, so it's understandable."

Sir Alex believes the goal-shy start to the campaign is well and truly behind United.

"We are delighted, the performance in particular was absolutely superb and I think it's probably our best of the season," he said.

Villa were reduced to nine men when midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker and goalkeeper Scott Carson were sent off. Sir Alex backed both decisions by referee Rob Styles but denied they were decisive moments in the game.

"I don’t think the red cards made a difference to the scoreline but they did give us an easier task. Reo-Coker was unlucky, but he committed two bookable offences as they were both late tackles. You can't afford to do that in the modern game.

"As for Carson being sent off (for bringing down Tevez), there is a lot of sympathy in that situation but the letter of the law says he has to go." Read more...

Aston Villa Vs. Manchester United Result and Report

United’s excellent form at Villa Park continued with a 4-1 victory characterised by the passing, movement, vision of the Reds' blossoming strike pairing, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez.

Rooney scored twice, but could have scored double that after seeing a penalty saved and a shot rattle off the crossbar. Tevez was as tenacious as ever but, more importantly, his link-up play crucial to the Reds going forward. Villa, who took the lead through Gabriel Agbonlahor on 13 minutes, ended the match with nine men after Nigel Reo-Coker and Scott Carson both saw red. In truth the match was all but over after United’s three-goal blitz before the break.

Without Vidic, Saha, Hargreaves, Carrick Neville, and with Ronaldo on the bench after suffering a slight knock on international duty, Sir Alex was forced to reshuffle. Anderson was handed only his second league start, while Gerard Pique deputised at right-back as Wes Brown filled in for Vidic.

It took two minutes for United to get the first chance when Scott Carson picked up a backpass from Wilfred Bouma 12 yards out. Rooney teed up Ryan Giggs on the volley, but the Villa wall blocked the effort. A promising start. But Martin O’Neill's side are made of stern stuff and, in contrast to the early run of play, they managed to strike first. Ashley Young’s cross from the left found Agbonlahor with time to glance his header past Edwin van der Sar. There was a hint of offside, as Luke Moore appeared to block van der Sar’s line of sight. But the goal stood.

Undeterred, United piled on the pressure, and chances soon followed. Evra’s cross from the left allowed Rooney to nod the ball back to Nani, who volleyed just over. Then after 25 minutes United’s intricate passing found a way through. Anderson, Nani, Scholes opened up space for Tevez, whose one-two with Rooney put him through on goal. But Carson was quick off his line and saved with his legs.

The Reds deservedly pulled level after 36 minutes following a low and dangerous Nani cross from the right. It caused indecision in the Villa defence. Zat Knight seemed to think Carson was coming to collect, but also knew that the slightest of touches would send the ball into his own net. Rooney gladly capitalised, nipping in behind Knight and tapping home the equaliser.

The understanding between Rooney and Tevez was the signature of United's first-half performance. Tevez drops under the radar of opposition defences, and he caused all kinds of problems for Villa's defence. Charged with linking midfield with attack, he executed the task perfectly for United’s second goal on 45 minutes. Using Giggs’ run as a decoy, the Argentina international cut inside from the left and carved Villa’s defence wide open with a pass to Rooney. United’s no.10 coolly slotted home his second of the match. It was the perfect time to take the lead. But Sir Alex’s men weren’t finished there. From a corner in injury time, Pique had his header cleared off the line before Craig Gardner volleyed Ferdinand’s rebounded shot in off the bar. It was a dramatic, but utterly deserved, turnaround.

The odds were further stacked in United’s favour during a five-minute spell around the hour mark. First, Rob Styles, perhaps slightly harshly, sent off Nigel Reo-Coker, whose two bookable offences comprised clumsy rather than malicious tackles on Anderson and Tevez. Then, after Tevez was brought down by Carson whilst clean through on goal, he dismissed the Villa shot-stopper and awarded a penalty. However, substitute goalkeeper Stuart Taylor made the most of his first touch, saving low and to his right from Rooney’s spot-kick. The English front man’s hat-trick was proving elusive, seconds later he smashed a shot from 12 yards against the bar.

Tevez, who deserved a goal for his efforts, should have scored shortly before being replaced after 73 minutes by Darren Fletcher. He found space in the box and had just Taylor to beat, but the Villa goalkeeper spread himself well to deny Tevez. Taylor would be beaten, however, albeit via a wicked deflection. Giggs danced through the Villa defence from the right flank before seeing his left-footed shot cannon off Martin Laursen and beyond Taylor to complete the win. Villa Park remains one of United’s favoured grounds on the Premier League circuit, and a performance of this quality so soon after an international break bodes well.

Team Line-ups

Manchester United: Van der Sar; Pique, Brown, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Scholes (O'Shea, 77), Giggs (Ronaldo, 77); Tevez (Fletcher, 73), Rooney.
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Simpson.

Aston Villa: Carson (sent off, 66, Taylor on); Bouma, Mellberg, Laursen, Knight, Gardner (Osbourne, 54); Barry, Reo-Coker (sent off, 60), Young, Agbonlahor, Moore (Maloney, 54).
Subs not used: Davies, Petrov.