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Did Manchester United get away with it vs Aston Villa?

Did Manchester United get away with it vs Aston Villa?
Did Manchester United get away with it vs Aston Villa?

Erik ten Hag has had his ups and downs following his taking over at Old Trafford, although he has had quite a full squad at his disposal lately, he has his critics slamming the performances – and that so despite United’s winning run off late.

Last weekend, against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, United seemed to be the team that were on the back foot at Villa Park with the Villans controlling not only the pace of play but also the manipulating space in the final third. Ollie Watkins missed a sitter in what could be down to luck as balls thumped Onana’s chest from six yards, which was followed by Diaby flying off a couple of chances and Douglas Luiz hitting the charging players despite ample space to deal with.

Scott clutch McTominay
Scott clutch McTominay

Scott McTominay was the man again as it has been for the Red Devils’ on multiple occasions this season, and his late header made it three points for the visitors which takes their tally to a draw and five wins in all competitions following the turn of the year and are placed six points below the traditional number four spot (i.e. Champions League qualifier spot) at sixth.

You could call these in a couple of ways, one is that United have been clinical in front of goal and have taken their chances more than their opponents on the day or two that they have strengthened defensively and are forcing opponents into low xG shots. Sadly, it’s none. The Reds from Manchester have won on a lower xG as compared to their opponents although there has been a remarkable upstream of defensive actions lately, and on the other hand, the trend of sky-ing useless shots into the stands from yards apart still stands tall – something that we saw on multiple occasions yesterday from Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes.

Unai Emery’s Villa successfully invited triggers enough to create transitional situations from the second layer, although they weren’t just clinical enough – something you won’t usually associate with the likes of Watkins, McGinn, and Diaby. This could also be down to how United had to adapt into a back three following Luke Shaw’s precautionary sub-off that caused the hosts to invite pressed into spaces where United would have to compensate with Lindelof occupying those spaces.

Kobbie Mainoo continued his impressive performance against Aston Villa (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Kobbie Mainoo continued his impressive performance against Aston Villa (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Moreover, as Ten Hag in his post-match press conference mentioned how Mianoo and Casemiro had only played a handful of times together — you’d like to think more congruency between the pair will develop with time. The midfield pair could just be one of the crucial things for United going into the final run-in for the season. You’d like to think that the spaces the visitors were getting could also be down to not having Mason Mount on the pitch, as the Englishman is just as critical in enclosing spaces defensively as he is in exploiting them offensively. Mount, there would just ensure that certain third-man connections in sequences could also prove critical in releasing the likes of Rashford and Garnacho.

Manchester United star jokingly took credit for the goal that Rasmus Hojlund scored against Aston Villa.
Manchester United star jokingly took credit for the goal that Rasmus Hojlund scored against Aston Villa. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Taking about attacking, a certain Rasmus Hojlund is finally earning his wages’ worth, scoring his fifth in as many games — but there is more to him than just being clinical in front of goal, his movements in the box are proving to be a menace to reckon with. Yesterday, during a couple of counterattacks his movements to dispose of Villa’s centre-backs to bequeath space to incoming man could have led to goals. It’s good to have a striker upfront who is learning the art of understanding spaces for narrow wingers and attacking midfielders — in the long run, this will come in handy for United big time.

Harry Maguire has to be the biggest positive takeaway from the game. He was given just enough cover to pass the ball in build-up without getting caught and he opened his angles to Villas’s attacks well.

More Manchester United News-

For United, a lot has improved but yesterday was a glimpse that showed lots is still the same and there is a long road overdue to drive and level up on. So when Roy Keane comes out and says United have ridden their luck, you could say so, and yesterday of all days where they found three points gifted to them at Villa Park.

Written by Jainil Shah

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