Manchester United vs Aston Villa: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
There was never much doubt in Old Trafford on Monday as United cruised to a 3-0 victory, and it took Robin van Persie just 33 minutes to net a hat trick.
With four games left, the Red Devils claimed their 84th point, which puts them 16 points clear of second-place Manchester City.
This was less a match than it was a celebration party.
No one expected Aston Villa, who is just hoping to stave off relegation, to keep the Red Devils from the crown.
The stadium was rocking when this game kicked off, and that energy and excitement in the crowd did not subside all match, and for good reason. Two minutes hadn't even passed before van Persie found the match's first goal.
Wayne Rooney got that quickly started with a nice long ball. That set up a beautiful display of passing that crossed up the Aston Villa defense, and eventually found van Persie breaking open at point-blank range. He delivered with the easy goal.
United kept the pressure up, and it was clear the club was not going to be denied.
Then in the 13th minute, this match found its high point. Again, Rooney hit another wonderful long ball. This time it found RVP in stride as he was breaking free. Van Persie didn't let the ball hit the ground as it came in over his shoulder, and he volleyed a low screamer past a helpless Brad Guzan for one of the more exciting goals you will ever see.
Old Trafford was a den of euphoria at this point, and the celebration peaked in the 33rd minute when RVP capped off his hat trick off of a nice pass from Ryan Giggs.
To its credit, Aston Villa's effort never dropped off, and it came out and played a much better second half as the second 45 minutes passed without a goal.
However, at this point, everyone was essentially just waiting for time to pass so they could once again proclaim that the Red Devils are the EPL champs.
United now has a chance to not just be champs, but also to be historic champs. If they can win their four remaining matches, which won't be easy, they will finish with 96 points, and that would set a new record for points—beating the 95 by Chelsea in 2004-05.
Robin van Persie: A
This was just a great performance by Robin van Persie. He found the stunningly quick hat trick, and he did so in spectacular fashion.
How long ago his scoreless streak feels now.
Wayne Rooney: B
Wayne Rooney had his up-and-down moments as he manned the central midfield position.
There were the moments of offensive brilliance—like his beautiful assist to RVP. Then there were moments of defensive incompetence—like in the second half when he lost the ball deep in the Red Devils' side of the field and then fell over. Were it not for a great save, Aston Villa would have converted that into a score.
He was eventually subbed out in the 71st minute.
Brad Guzan: B
I couldn't help but feel bad for Brad Guzan as this match played out. The keeper got very little help from his defense as he saw three amazing goals in the first half that he could do nothing about.
It was an admirable effort from Guzan though as he kept up his intensity throughout.
Christian Benteke: C
Christian Benteke was not much of a factor. He was able to fire off just two shots—one of which was on goal.
However, his lack of impact was not all his fault. He had very few chances to make anything happen.
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