Aston Villa outfoxed Man United in a game which the Red Devils needed to win to be able to level with Chelsea on points, but instead the Villains had other plans, and it was Agbonlahor who scored the only goal of the game to secure a 0-1 away win for his team, while Sir Alex was left fuming (& reddened 😛 ) on the touchline.
Aston Villa came with a game plan and executed it to perfection, even though they allowed United most of the possession, but never allowed the likes of Rooney and Giggs to trouble them throughout the first half. United welcomed back Brown and Vidic in defense, while Fletcher was playing as the backup right back with O’Shea still injured, and Kuszczak was in goal yet again. May be the game plan of United was left wanting, as Sir Alex deployed a 4-5-1 formation, one which I’ve noticed does not succeed too often for United, and it was the case yet again, as Rooney was the lone striker, when on the bench both Owen and Berbatov were available to start the game. Villa were playing more on the counter-attack, relying on the pace of Milner, Agbonlahor and Young to upset the crumbling United defense, with Heskey adding some physical impact as well.
The only goal came on 21st minute, as United failed to deal with Young and Agbonlahor, and the former’s perfect cross for the latter to head in gave no chance to Kuszczak, who may be was not positioned correctly as well in the process, while Brown was left flat-footed, when he should have been marking Agbonlahor. Villa were threatening on the counters, while United although having much possession were unable to apply a finishing touch at the other end, with Friedel barely troubled.
The second half saw Owen coming on for Giggs to switch back to the traditional 4-4-2, as Giggs lacked the touches which he sometimes graces us with, but United were yet again helpless against a well organized team defending their 1-goal lead. Berbatov and Gibson were brought on as well, with Berbatov missing a simple volley to equalize, while Gibson tried some shots but to no avail. At the final whistle Aston Villa fans and squad were celebrating a deserved win, while United were left crest-fallen as they failed to catch up with Chelsea for the title race.
The debate thus continues as whether Sir Alex should buy some reinforcements in the January transfer window (Silva, David Villa, Akinfeev, Neuer,Sol Campbell[???], Dzenko, amongst others ), although Sir Alex has stated he will not do so, but seeing them play today may be will change his mind, as Valencia was not at his 100%, same for Rooney and others, with the 2 impressive players for United being Evra (yet again, the ‘infatigable’ Frenchman!!!), and Fletcher who was being played at right back when he is a midfielder, but kept battling away to deny Young any free space to cause more damage.
It was an erratic day of football today though, as Chelsea were held 3-3 at home against Everton, while Bolton and Man City as well separated on the same scoreline, and a surprise coming from London where Tottenham lost to Wolves 0-1, and may be more drama tomorrow as Liverpool face Arsenal.