United extended the gap at the top of the Premier League with an emphatic win over Aston Villa.
Team News – Sir Alex Ferguson, as expected, brought Paul Scholes back into the starting eleven. Also returning to the eleven was Rafael, otherwise it had a familiar look to it.
United – De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Valencia, Young, Rooney, Welbeck
Subs – Amos, Jones, Giggs, Nani, Cleverley, Berbatov, Hernandez
First Half – Villa got the action underway and forced an early save out of De Gea when Wiemann unleashed an early shot. United`s first attack saw an effort from Rooney blocked but with six minutes on the clock United were awarded another early penalty.
Once again Ashley Young was involved this time being tripped by Clark. Rooney stepped up and beat Given easily from the twelve yard mark.
United 1 Villa 0 (Rooney – 7mins)
United had started well and were pushing Villa back. Young was fouled outside the area and when the ball fell to Welbeck his shot was well blocked by Baker. Rooney then saw Given turn a shot around the post before, in a rare Villa attack, Clark saw a header drift just wide, from a free-kick.
Welbeck, featuring prominently, saw a shot blocked and turned aside for a corner and from the corner Rooney saw a header go wide. Welbeck then saw a shot deflected u and over the bar and form the resulting corner a volley from Scholes arrowed just wide.
Another Villa attack saw Ireland curl a shot past the far post before saw great skill form Carrick, in the box, saw a poor pull back end the move. Valencia then drilled in a low cross that saw Given produce a spectacular save from Welbeck before, with a minute left until half time, the lead was doubled.
A quick attack was launched and when Evra fed the ball in the Villa defence, inexplicably, left it and Welbeck stretched well to turn it in at the far post.
United 2 Villa 0 (Welbeck – 44 mins)
Half Time – United 2 Villa 0
Second Half – United got the second half underway at a strangely subdued Old Trafford. That silence was ended when a crunching tackle, by Hutton, on Young left the winger in a crumpled heap. Evra and Clark were next in the wars after a hefty collision before; just past the hour mark Sir Alex introduced Nani for Young.
Scholes saw a shot deflected for a corner before there was an, unsuccessful, appeal for handball against Baker. Heskey, on as substitute, saw a header pushed over the bar by De Gea as Villa started to enjoy a spell of pressure.
Valencia, having a sparkling game, saw a bal in scuffed wide by Rooney before Agbonlahor saw a shot deflected for a corner which saw Baker head wide.
With seventy-four minutes gone, United increased their lead when Rooney and Valencia exchanged passes for Rooney to beat Given with a low shot.
United 3 Villa 0 (Rooney – 74 mins)
Rooney, now on a hat trick was replaced by Berbatov whilst, three minutes later, Cleverley was thrown on in place of Scholes.
Valencia forced another save from Given and with four minutes of stoppage time announced United grabbed a fourth when, from an Evans pass, Nani forced a shot home from a narrow angle.
United 4 Villa 0 (Nani – 93 mins)
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