Analysis: Manchester United secure Champions League football after a comeback win
Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring United's third at Villa Park. Photo taken by Shaun Botterill/ Getty images.

Manchester United once again came from a goal down to dispatch an Aston Villa side still without their talisman Jack Grealish. The win for United moves the club within 10 points of leaders Manchester City, although the title charge is all but over, consolidation of second place is the most important for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s red devils.

United started the game well and forced Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez into a good save from Luke Shaw’s driven shot from a tight angle on the left-hand side. After a good opening 10-15 minutes, however, Villa slowly got back into it and took a deserved lead through Bertrand Traore. After a poor pass from Fred to Scott Mctominay, put the Scotsman into big trouble.

Mctominay was robbed of possession by John McGinn, with his bulldog-like approach. Douglas Luiz picked the ball up, played a lovely ball through to Bertrand Traore. He had a lot to do and with his back to goal, he swivelled away from Victor Lindelöf, despite the Swedes best attempts and lashed the ball into the top corner past Dean Henderson.

United went in at half time 1-0 down, which is becoming a regular occurrence for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reds. After half-time, the tempo quickened. Fred and Scott Mctominay after a poor first half seemed to step it up a bit, Solskjaer’s hairdryer treatment must have come out again. After barely 5 minutes of the second half, United were level.

Paul Pogba was fouled In the penalty area, clumsily by Brazilian Douglas Luiz, the Frenchman was facing away from goal but was tripped by Luiz. The talisman for the Old Trafford side, Bruno Fernandes stepped up and sent Martinez the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Mason Greenwood made it 2-1 barely three minutes after, with a brilliant swivel and a clever finish into the bottom right-hand corner past Villa keeper Martinez, the Argentinian should have done better.

United made the game safe through Uruguayan hitman Edinson Cavani, after a superb cross from Marcus Rashford on the right-hand side and he finished it with his head superbly.

Cavani now has 6 goals from the substitute bench, which now means no players has scored more than the striker from the bench in any Premier League season according to Sky Sports.

Maguire a big injury concern

Harry Maguire was seen wearing a protective boot heading out of the stadium, according to Henry Winter of The Times.

The Manchester United captain is now in serious doubt for his first cup final in a Manchester United shirt, with the game just over two weeks away the English defender will be hoping the injury to his ankle isn’t too serious after a collision with Anwar El Ghazi.

In the post-match interview, Solskjaer said: “It might be a few weeks, it might be a few days, we will have to wait and see.” Maguire has been a mainstay in the United back four featuring in 72 Premier League games since his signing from Leicester in the summer of 2019.

The defender has been underrated in the league this season, putting in superb performances in the heart of the United defence.

If Maguire were to miss the rest of the season and the Europa League final, then his presence would be missed. According to FBREF, Maguire wins 4.21 aerial duels per 90, which ranks him 96th on the percentile rank. The higher the number the better the player is, in that specific attribute.

He also completes 5.70 progressive carries per 90, which is crucial to Maguire’s game as it gets United up the pitch quickly.

Greenwood once again shows his qualities

Mason Greenwood scored yet another goal, to make him the highest-scoring teenager in the Premier League for Manchester United in their history.

The 19-year-old after a difficult start to the season has returned to the post lockdown form of the end of last season. Greenwood now has 5 goals and 2 assists this season and his all-round play has improved drastically since last season.

The turn and finish for the goal he scored, was superb. To turn away from Tyrone Mings like that and to finish as he did was brilliant. In future, Greenwood should be played down the middle more often to give his unique qualities a bigger chance to shine.

Greenwood will be hoping later this month that his first trophy for Manchester United will come.

For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, this win will give him and his team the rest bite they need ahead of a busy few days for the red devils.

With United’s win, their place in the UEFA Champions League group stages for next season was secured, this was after Everton beat West Ham. So players will be rested for the game against Leicester City on Tuesday night, you would think.

United face Leicester City and Liverpool in the next four days, so a win at Villa Park, which secures Champions League football, will be welcome for the Old Trafford side.

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