Published 09/05/2021 at 12:10 GMT | Updated 09/05/2021 at 18:48 GMT
Manchester United came from behind yet again in the Premier League to overcome Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park and make rivals Manchester City wait longer for the title to be confirmed.
Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani nullified a Bertrand Traore opener as United avoided a defeat which would have seen the Premier League title awarded to their noisy neighbours City.
In a well-balanced game with chances for both sides, United started the brighter, testing Emiliano Martinez in the home goal with early efforts from Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford as the visitors sought to attack down their left flank predominantly.
The Red Devils would come out at the restart galvanised, however, and two goals in quick succession, one from the penalty spot from the talismanic Fernandes, another near-post snap shot from young starlet Greenwood and a glancing header from super-sub Cavani were enough to extend their unbeaten run not just over Villa, but in the Premier League.
Solskjaer lauds 'robust, excellent' Maguire after win over Villa
Villa went down to 10 men in the dying embers of the game, with Ollie Watkins booked twice, once for a dangerous challenge on Harry Maguire, and another for diving, which rubbed salt in Villa wounds as they missed the chance to return to the top half of the league table.
TALKING POINT - ROTATION? WHAT'S THAT?
The big talking point for this game was how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would approach it, especially after the visit to Rome last Thursday, and difficult matches coming up against Leicester City and Liverpool on Tuesday and Thursday.
Solskjaer surprised no one by reverting to his old tricks: Lindelof and Maguire were the centre-back pairing, and Pogba and Fernandes were not afforded a rest as the Norwegian went strong from the off.
Maguire was a casualty to injury, however, a knock on his ankle after a clash with Anwar El Ghazi meaning he limped off with 10 minutes to go.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Shaw were not given any rest time either, with both full-backs coming through 90 minutes, along with the workhorse duo of Fred and McTominay.
It remains to be seen how United approach the game with Leicester on Tuesday, especially considering the Foxes are, excluding Chelsea, their closest competition for a top four finish.
He didn't get on the scoresheet and his opposing winger scored, so Shaw might seem a weird man of the match.
His energy on the overlap, constantly creating numerical overloads against Matty Cash, was a key weapon in United's arsenal going forwards - his link-up play and understanding with Pogba and Rashford, in particular, allowed for the Reds to get up the field with pace; so often the out-ball for both central defenders, the former Southampton full-back's first touch was flawless, he threatened goal with dangerous crosses and shots, as well as remaining solid defensively.
Another complete performance from a man well on top of his game, and more pertinently, the full-back world.
Mason Greenwood of Manchester United celebrates
Image credit: Getty Images
24': GOAL! OHHHHHHH! Wow! What a goal! Fantastic pressure from McGinn on McTominay, he wins the ball quickly, Traore initially makes a mess of the turn, but Lindelof defends it poorly, and the Burkina Faso international fires it into the top corner! A quality finish!
40': CLOSE! Greenwood with a strike off the right! Good save Martinez!
52': GOAL! Bruno Fernandes, no mistake. 1-1.
56': GOAL! Mason Greenwood, there's the turnaround. A fabulous manoeuvre, receives it on the half turn from Wan-Bissaka, he spins Mings who's marking him tightly and flashes it inside Martinez's near post.
87': GOAL! Cavani... blocked by Cash... it comes back out to him from Rashford's cross, and what a glancing header!
89': RED CARD! Watkins is off,
Manchester United have only lost once to Villa in 45 league encounters, the last time coming at Villa Park, 1-0, from a Gabriel Agbonlahor header in 2008.