Barclays Premier League
Manchester United 4-0 Aston Villa



Ashley Young goes over to win Manchester United a penalty in the first half which was converted by Wayne Rooney



By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor from Old Trafford

Manchester United re-established a five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League but their victory over Aston Villa was aided by controversial penalty.

Former Villans winger Ashley Young, who also won a spot-kick last week against Queens Park Rangers, was involved again, adjudged to be tripped by Ciaran Clark.

Contact between the pair was minimal but Wayne Rooney converted before Danny Welbeck made it 2-0 at the back post.

Villa improved after the break but Rooney and Nani sealed victory.



Aston Villa have won just one of their 37 games against Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson took over as manager of the Red Devils.


United were the superior team in the match, especially in the first half, and the win also cut Manchester City's goal difference advantage to four goals. "Young went down quite easily" – Sir Alex Ferguson said.

But questions will be asked of Young, after Clark appeared to pull his foot away from the winger.

Young's former team-mates failed to improve a wretched record against United, which now extends to one win in 31 games.

More importantly, they remain just six points above the relegation zone but they will look at games against Sunderland, Bolton and West Brom as a better chance of accruing points than a trip to Old Trafford.

For United, victory was a perfect response after losing at Wigan on Wednesday and they were not put under any sustained pressure, hard as Villa fought.

Before the spot-kick controversy, Andreas Weimann had tested David de Gea and Clark almost made amends for his transgression later in the half when his header whistled wide.

Stephen Ireland's curling shot also went close, but United were well on top and could have extended their lead through efforts by Welbeck, Rooney and Paul Scholes. Welbeck stung Given's gloves and denied Rooney, whilst Scholes volleyed wide from Young's corner.

Visiting keeper Shay Given had to be on top form to tip one Welbeck shot over, and he was severely let down by his defence for United's second.

Patrice Evra overlapped on the left and although his low cross was delivered into a dangerous area, it was well within the reach of James Collins and Nathan Baker, who inexplicably chose to leave it allowing Welbeck to slide in at the back post.

Scholes was once again the dictator in midfield, having being left out of the defeat by Wigan.

But the 37-year-old was booked for an ugly tackle on Gabriel Agbonlahor early in the second half, as Villa attempted to impose themselves on the game.

They had some success in stemming the flow towards their goal and Emile Heskey, who replaced the injured Clark, had a header tipped over by De Gea, while Nathan Baker also headed inches wide from a corner.

McLeish may take a dim view of the first goal, but Villa can have few complaints about the result - if there were any doubts about the direction of the game, Rooney made sure when he tucked in Antonio Valencia's cutback for his 32nd goal of the season.



Aston Villa were the last team to keep a clean sheet at Old Trafford in their 1-0 victory in December 2009.  


And Nani came on to boost United's goal total when he scored from close range.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team now host Everton before they travel to Etihad Stadium to face rivals Manchester City where- following this result- a victory could secure them their 20th top-flight title.



Sunday 15th April 2012

Barclays Premier League

Old Trafford


Manchester United 4-0 Aston Villa                                    KO 4pm                (HT 2-0)

Rooney 6 (pen), 73
Welbeck 43
Nani 90+2


Manchester United:   01. De Gea- 6.5/10, 21. Rafael- 8/10, 06. Evans- 7/10, 05. R. Ferdinand- 7.5/10, 03. Evra (C)-6/10, 25. Valencia- 7.5/10, 18. Scholes- 9/10 (Cleverley 78- 3/10), 16. Carrick- 8.5/10, 18. Young- 5/10 (Nani 61- 5/10), 10. Rooney- 7/10 (Berbatov 78- 3/10), 19. Welbeck- 8/10.

Subs not used:  40. Amos, 04. Jones, 11. Giggs, 14. Hernandez

Booked:     Carrick (9) Scholes (49), Nani (90+1)


Aston Villa:   01. Given- 8.5/10, 02. Hutton- 5/10, 06. Collins- 6/10, 21. Clark- 6.5/10 (Heskey 64- 4.5/10), 30. Lechaj- 4.5/10, 07. Ireland- 4/10 (Carruthers 75- 2.5/10), 25. Bannan- 7/10, 38. Gardner- 4.5/10, 11. Agbonlahor (C)- 5.5/10, 26. Weimann- 6/10 (N'Zogbia 83- 1/10), 32. Baker- 6/10.

Subs not used:  22. Guzan, 14. Delfounso, 24. Cuellar, 35. Johnson

Booked:     Gardner (38), Hutton (51), Bannan (90+1)


My Man of the Match:      Paul Scholes (Manchester United)- Rating 9/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)- Rating 4/10


Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)- 6/10
Attendance: 75,138



Match Facts

Possession: Manchester United- 61%           Aston Villa- 39%

Shots: Manchester United- 24           Aston Villa- 10

Shots on target: Manchester United- 16           Aston Villa- 4 

Shots off target: Manchester United- 8           Aston Villa- 6

Corners: Manchester United- 11           Aston Villa- 4

Fouls: Manchester United- 9           Aston Villa- 7

Offside: Manchester United- 1           Aston Villa- 0

Assists: Manchester United- Evra, Valencia & Evans           Aston Villa- None



Sir Alex Ferguson - Manchester United Manager

"I think he played for it [the penalty]. He has definitely taken a fall and overdid it, but it was a penalty. We wanted a good team performance [after the loss in midweek] to bounce back, we got that. We got four goals, so thats crucial for the goal difference too and we are looking forward to the next game. We have managed to maintain our form of late and get some wins under our belt and it is important that we keep this run going and the momentum moving along."

Click here for the full interview



Alex McLeish-  Aston Villa Manager

"We know what Ashley (Young) is like in trying to sell the dummy, maybe we should have done better in stopping him from cutting inside but that is a different matter entirely. That set us back because we started pretty well and it is always going to be a tough ask for the young lads to come from behind at Old Trafford when (Manchester) United are chasing for the title especially in the first half. I didn't think it was a penalty. Ashley has thrown his leg towards the direction of our play and Ciaran tries to pull his leg away so for me it definitely wasn't a penalty. To concede four and lose is naturally disappointing but we won't be judged on collecting results in games such as these. We need to be winning at home." 

Click here for the full interview with Villa boss Alex McLeish after the game


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