Aston Villa vs. Manchester United: Score, Analysis and Grades
The headline is nothing new. Manchester United once again erased an early deficit as they came back from two goals down to defeat Aston Villa 3-2 at Villa Park.
Andreas Weimann put the hosts ahead just before the halftime whistle, then doubled the lead shortly after play resumed. This put United in a position where it would have to orchestrate another one of its signature comeback victories.
Javier Hernandez came on as a substitute to start the second half, and it proved to be a brilliant move by Sir Alex Ferguson as the striker erased the lead with the team's first goal and a shot that led to an own goal by Ron Vlaar.
United found their inevitable winner when Robin van Persie's free kick curled onto Hernandez's head in the 87th minute, capping off the comeback.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United: B-
The United offense sputtered throughout most of this match, and Rooney failed to make a significant impact. The Red Devils needed a more spirited performance from the start from its star.
He was significantly more dangerous once Hernandez came on and took pressure off of him, but his poor start to this match ended up mattering little.
Andreas Weimann, Aston Villa: A+
The Austrian winger was a constant threat throughout this match, and the United defense was woefully inept when trying to track his runs. He was able to find space on nearly every cross into the box.
He scored both of Villa's goals and very nearly headed in a third, forcing an excellent save from David De Gea. He was Villa's man of the match in this fixture, but will be disappointed that his efforts did not lead to three points.
Robin van Persie, Manchester United: B+
United's star striker also got out to a slow start, but his play picked up in the second half. He came remarkably close to scoring United's winner when he hit the crossbar twice within the span of a couple of minutes.
He ultimately set up the game-winning goal with a well-placed free kick that found Hernandez's head. An excellent second half saved him from a poor grade for this match.
Christian Benteke, Aston Villa: B+
This was an open and exciting match, with both sets of attacking players getting chances throughout the 90 minutes. He was able to keep constant pressure on the United centre-backs and also assisted Weimann's first goal.
Benteke was a valuable part of Villa's attack, but needed to take more chances during the match. Had he been more aggressive, he might have been able to take more advantage of United's shaky defense.
Javier Hernandez, Manchester United: A+
Hernandez' presence in the second half changed this match. United struggled to find decent scoring chances in the first 45 minutes, despite having a decisive advantage in possession.
But the Mexican striker has been in fantastic recent form, and that continued when he scored two of United's three goals and was responsible for creating Vlaar's own goal. While it seemed certain Weimann's performance would be the most impressive in this match, Hernandez stole that honor with his fantastic play.
United will hold on to their place at the top of the table while Villa's disappointing start continues. However, Paul Lambert certainly saw positive developments to build on in this match.
Villa's schedule will not get any easier as they face Manchester City at Etihad Stadium next week. The Red Devils will head to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City.
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