10 observations from Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United
Picture: Matty Cash of Aston Villa, who was blessed to escape a booking on Saturday, battles for possession with Manchester United youngster Anthony Elanga.
Here are my 10 observations on Aston Villa cutting a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday:
We crumbled despite having a two-goal advantage against a side who didn’t necessarily blow us away with their football. Although it felt inevitable going into the game that United would make life hard for themselves, I felt a sense of optimism after Bruno Fernandes’ brace. We got away with another questionable display for 10 minutes before Jacob Ramsey pulled one back, just five minutes before Philippe Coutinho’s equaliser. That Scouse twat was bound to score, I could feel it on Friday as Steven Gerrard played down his chances of featuring, and it doesn’t make me feel any better about our players being bottlers. It was another story of individual errors which allowed Villa back into the game.
Questionable game management and wrong substitutions. Being two goals clear, United were still unable to take three points from Villa Park. The team didn’t learn from their mistakes against Villa on Monday night and this time our opponents finally put away their chances. United should have been looking to close out the game after scoring a second goal, not bringing on Jadon Sancho — whose inclusion was just to give him extra minutes in a game we should have managed better. How did Fred last so long on the pitch, and Nemanja Matic, who looked like a retired racehorse being asked to run in a Cheltenham Gold Cup when the second half kicked off? Meanwhile, Edinson Cavani offered nothing.
Bruno Fernandes scored two goals — showing that he can take responsibility in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence — to get on the scoresheet for the first time in four matches. It will be interesting to see if he plays in the No. 8 role again, when Ronaldo returns from injury, because he was allowed to freely roam around the midfield area and search for pockets in the Villa defence. However, every player — including Bruno — tailed off in the second-half. Villa came out like mad dogs and got the result they deserved.