Manchester United certainly had yet another fruitful away game as they secured a 3-0 win against Aston Villa on Thursday night.
The fixture started off a bit wobbly for the visitors who had to rely on a contentious penalty which Bruno Fernandes calmly buried in order to go ahead. Mason Greenwood made no mistake in doubling that lead late in the first half whereas the second half saw Paul Pogba pair up brilliantly with Fernandes to score a much-awaited goal in order to seal all three points for the Red Devils.
1. Strong Run Of Games
With this win, Manchester United have gone 17 games unbeaten in all competitions. Further still, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side have now had 5 consecutive wins to their name following the 1-1 draw to Tottenham Hotspur upon resumption.
All of the ones in the Premier League have been confident fixtures with a swagger of brilliance to them. Both the 3rd and 4th positions are within touching distance now and continuation of this winning form will see the side guarantee a Champions League spot.
2. A Century Of Goals
Pogba’s goal was Manchester United’s 100th in all competitions so far this campaign. When Solskjær first arrived at Old Trafford, goals were an assurance and the return to brilliant attacking football cannot be more emphatically stated than through these numbers.
While games like the recent 5-2 thumping of AFC Bournemouth, the 6-0 riot over Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup, and the convincing 5-0 performances over LASK and Club Brugge in the Europa League have had their fair share to add to this tally, the simple fact remains that United are now scoring more goals more often.
3. That Pogba Goal
The sheer ease of that goal from Pogba is a testament to the practice put by the lads on the training ground. When Bruno Fernandes took the corner-kick and signaled Pogba to come forward, a goal wasn’t on the cards but the movements that followed created it out of thin air.
That’s an excellent assist for the Portuguese midfielder whose pairing with the Frenchman has become the much-anticipated reason for fans to watch United week in and week out.
Further, the goal was Pogba’s first one since April of 2019 and it certainly took its time coming across injury and lockdown.
4. Greenwood And Fernandes’ Goal Tally
The fact that both Fernandes and Greenwood found themselves on the scoresheet is remarkable given their recent contributions. Respective braces in the past two games prior to this fixture has meant that both player have now netted 4 goals in 3 games, which is exceptional football played.
While Fernandes’ impact has been a constant one since his arrival, tonight’s goal takes Greenwood’s tally to 16 goals across all competitions this campaign, not too shy of the coveted 20-goal mark.
5. Villa’s Relegation Assured?
While such a scoreline does spell doom for Dean Smith’s side, the simple fact remains that they started the fixture quite strong, building on the back of the Anfield fixture confidence.
While they are still quite deep in the relegation zone, this fixture was arguably their last difficult game amongst the ones left. Crystal Palace, Everton, Arsenal, and West Ham are all challenging meetings but Aston Villa still have the fighting spirit left to inch past safety by the end of July.
6. VAR Controversy
Momentum is everything for a fixture like this and Villa’s was dashed when the opening penalty was awarded by Jon Moss.
Repeated replays of the confrontation leading up to the penalty do make one question whether Fernandes was truly fouled, with even a hint of simulation coming into the fray. However, VAR yet again proved toothless in fully putting in its efforts and that resulted in another easy penalty being awarded in absence of a “clear and obvious error” to rule the decision out.
7. History Scripted By United Again
While fans of the Red Devils will feel like their side has not had this good a run in a long time, the numbers say that no team in the Premier League has enjoyed such a form.
With this win, United have now become the first team in Premier League history to win 4 games in a row by a margin of 3 or more goals each. Given the kind of historic sides to have graced the competition over the years, this is excellence beyond comparison. How long can they keep it up for?