Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa: Player ratings
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on January 01, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Manchester United secured a crucial three points over fellow top four contenders Aston Villa is an open and enthralling encounter at Old Trafford

United took the lead through Anthony Martial before being pegged back by Bertrand Traore’s tidy finish. However, as is often the case, Bruno Fernandes fired home United’s second to secure the victory. 

How did the players fare? 

David De Gea – 8/10 

A solid display reminiscent of his world beating form a few years ago. De Gea made some top saves, notably from Ollie Watkins and Matty Cash. There was very little he could have done to stop Traore’s close range effort and didn’t put a foot wrong elsewhere. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7/10 

Wan-Bissaka showed immense attacking potential throughout the game, something fans and experts alike had criticised him for. He was rewarded with a brilliant assist for Martial’s goal and was heavily involved in the majority of United’s forward play. However, his insistence on blocking a quick free kick effectively cost United a goal which on any other day could have seen them drop points, and for that reason he has been docked a few points. However, overall, it was a very tidy performance from the full-back. 

Eric Bailly – 8/10 

Eric Bailly’s injury record is looking more and more like the only thing keeping him from achieving wonders at Old Trafford, and he proved his ability again yesterday. He complimented Maguire excellently, sweeping up balls over the top, tracking runners and even progressing the ball out of defence. His performance would have perhaps warranted a nine had he kept a clean sheet. 

Harry Maguire – 8/10 

It would be unfair to rate Maguire any different to his defensive partner, much to their display of unity and stability on the pitch. The captain was solid both offensively and defensively, doing well to contain the ever-impressive Watkins. 

Luke Shaw – 7/10 

Yet another impressive display by Shaw who seems appears reborn thanks to the competition provided by Alex Telles. Often tasked with dealing with Jack Grealish, Shaw was defensively stable, while offering a continual threat going forward. More of the same please Luke! 

Scott McTominay – 6/10 

Often United’s ‘Mr. Consistent’, McTominay had another reasonable day in the fact that he wasn’t noticeably poor. However, many misplaced passes and avoidable fouls meant resulted in him being substituted midway through the first half. 

Fred – 7/10 

McTominay’s partner in crime, Fred maintained his partnership with the Scottish international, and had yet another solid game. Defensively sound and even offering some previously unseen goal threat, Fred will be pleased with his performance. 

Paul Pogba – 8/10 

Whether he’s putting himself in the shop window, or simply bucking his ideas up, something has changed within the Frenchman recently, and United are seeing all the benefits. While his defensive contributions were lacking, has threat going forward was clear to see. Not only did he win a penalty, but his chance creation complimented by the fact he maybe should have scored a goal himself tell you everything you need to know about one of Pogba’s better performances in a red shirt. 

Bruno Fernandes – 8/10 

Despite scoring the all-important penalty, it would be unjust to rate Fernandes any higher than Pogba, much to the credit of the pair’s scintillating play which tore through the Villa back line time and time again. Fernandes was his usual tricky self, creating chances, linking play and testing Emi Martinez on several occasions, it’s clear the ‘Portuguese magnifico’ is intent on starting 2021 the way he finished 2020. 

Marcus Rashford – 7/10 

While he may not have directly contributed to either of the goals, Rashford was arguably United’s most dangerous player, despite him having a seemingly quiet game by his standards. His quick feet, dribbling and the ability to fashion a chance out of nothing is really coming to the surface now, and Rashford is well and truly in form this season. 

Anthony Martial – 8/10 

While you’d be sane think Martial’s high mark is for his superb, stooping headed opener, his overall impact on the game cannot be questioned. His off the ball movement, free flowing passing and even tracking back were magnificent and hopefully an indicator that he has turned a corner after his poor start to the season. 

Sub: Nemanja Matic – 6/10 

If ever there was a man to steady the ship, look no further than Matic. Brought on after United scored their second, Matic not only helped solidify the defence, but actually helped United sustain pressure which saw them almost double their lead on a number of occasions. 

Sub: Daniel James – N/A 

Sub: Axel Tuanzebe – N/A 

Man of the Match - Paul Pogba

Picking a star out of this sea of great performances is not an easy task, but it’s hard to overlook Paul Pogba. His overall influence on the game cannot be understated, while his leadership qualities shone through on multiple occasions.