Manchester United’s first home game after news of the 25 percent acquisition by Sir Jim Ratcliffe was a classic one. Aston Villa headed to Old Trafford the stronger side, with a win hosting the potential of taking them to first place, if not tying for it on points. United on the other hand had a string of humiliating defeats and goalless outings behind them.
When the visitors led 2-0 at the 30-minute mark courtesy of goals from John McGinn and Leander Dendoncker, it looked to be an all-too-familiar tale for the Old Trafford faithful. It was then that the United DNA kicked in strong. A quick second-half brace from Alejandro Garnacho set the scoreline level and then Rasmus Hojlund’s supreme strike in the 82nd minute secured all three points for Erik ten Hag’s men.
Here are the chief takeaways from the game:
1. Garnacho Undroppable
The Argentinian starlet has been having a splendid set of games. This brace and the Player of the Match award is testament to Ten Hag’s trust in not dropping him despite mute displays pre-Christmas. Moreover, this was a game where Garnacho started on the right wing for the first time in his career, and needless to say, it was a splendid display.
With Antony’s form struggles, the CR7 fan could very well cement a regular spot in the starting lineup if such commanding displays continue.
2. Hojlund finally gets his PL goal
The Red Devils know about Hojlund’s affinity for goals – he was a recurring top scorer throughout the club’s spell in the group stages of the Champions League. However, in the Premier League, he was toothless, but not entirely by fault of his own.
The youngster simply isn’t fed the sort of opportunities that he can deftly bury into the back of the net. However, the set-piece from Bruno Fernandes created the perfect scenario for the 20-year-old to score his long-awaited debut Premier League goal.
3. Second-half Defense
United’s backline has been the subject of much rightful criticism. However, in the second half, they were incredible at doing their job well. Jonny Evans at 35 looked every bit like the title-winning defender of the yesteryears, evidenced by his deft late clearance.
Moreover, United were keen on keeping their passes per defensive action quite high, illustrating offensive dominance even when defending. Thus, the strong press which was a regular feature of the side last year made a thumping comeback.