Aston Villa 2-3 Manchester United: 6 Things We Learned from United's Big Win
You cannot blame Aston Villa for feeling hard done by in the wake of their 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United. Paul Lambert's side had been the better side by a shade for much of the game and were deservedly up two goals after 60 minutes.
But the Red Devils' furious comeback in the final third could not have been achieved without super-sub Javier Hernandez, who scored a sensational (if slightly dubious) hat-trick to turn a potential slip-up into yet another clinical win.
United will retain their position at the summit of the Premier League table over the weekend and are now surely favourites to win England's prestigious trophy.
Here are six things we learned from Saturday's remarkable clash.
Never Say Never Again
Has there ever been a team in the history of the game more clutch than Manchester United?
The Red Devils have completed more dramatic comebacks than one can count. Their 3-2 victory over Aston Villa is yet another for fans to cherish.
The home fans at Villa Park must have felt a sickening feeling of inevitability as each goal flew in, as if their fate was sealed the moment they went 2-0 up.
Much of the credit has to go to manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who instills in his players the self-confidence and belief necessary to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Rest assured, no one will ever say "never again."
United Look Flimsy Defending the Counter Attack
This slide could just as easily be titled "United Look Flimsy in Defence," but that would be far too obvious, wouldn't it?
Both of Aston Villa's goals came from quick breaks that the Red Devils were just unable to contain.
A fair amount of blame will likely go to defenders Rafael, Rio Ferdinand and Chris Smalling. But in my mind both Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes must accept their share.
Neither offered any protection for the back line for both goals, having been caught out of position and moving far too slow to get back to help out their teammates,
Victor Wanyama anyone?
Javier Hernandez Has Already Become a United Legend
The legend of Javier Hernandez continues to grow for Manchester United fans.
His latest game-winning exploits single-handedly won the game for the Red Devils; the Mexican having come on as a substitute for Ashley Young for the second half.
He has the heart of a winner, and the perfect team-mentality to succeed for Sir Alex's side.
Hernandez was given three opportunities to score by teammates and converted all three—a one-on-one, a volley from a difficult angle and a diving header.
His strike in the 88th minute was his third late-clincher this season—did anyone say "Ole?"
Is Valencia a One-Trick Pony?
Antonio Valencia is widely regarded as one of the best wingers in the game.
But having watched his largely frustrating outing at Villa Park, is this really the case?
Young defender Enda Stevens seemed well aware that the Ecuadorian is only capable of going right due to the fact he lacks a left foot; and when he was given room to cross, his passes were often off the mark.
He is certainly a vastly talented player, and by far United's best wide player, but does he have enough versatility to be considered one of the world's best?
But if he could grow comfortable on his left, God help the left-backs who have to mark him in the future.
Paul Scholes Needs Games
It would perhaps be harsh to single Paul Scholes out for criticism in the wake of Saturday's victory.
But it's only because I, like so many United fans, expect so much of him.
His passing was off the mark a little too often for his liking Saturday. Villa's quick midfielders, Gabby Agbonlahor and Barry Bannan, were able to close him down, forcing errors from the United veteran.
The Ginger wizard should not be completely written off, but if he is to play more of a part in the Red Devils' season, only regular games will inspire worthy form.
His assist for Hernandez's first goal suggests this wouldn't be such a bad thing.
United Have the Look of Champions
Last season it was Manchester City winning games late on despite not performing at their best.
We seem to say it every week, but this term United have that same characteristic—the look of champions.
The Red Devils currently sit atop the Premier League standings, despite not yet having reached top gear. In truth, they probably haven't even reached third gear yet.
It is scary to imagine just how good they can be.
It may be tempting fate to suggest we are in the midst of a title-winning season, but can anyone really say otherwise?
What did you think of United's dramatic win? What other lessons did we learn?