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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 3 June, 2020


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Good afternoon and welcome to today’s liveblog. I’ll have team news for you in a minute, there’s some big news regarding the United starting 11.

So here we go, the big news for United is that Falcao starts up front with van Persie. The team in full is:

De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Carrick, Evans, Young; Fletcher, Rooney, Mata; van Persie, Falcao

And the Villa team is:

Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Okore, Clark, Cissokho; Sanchez, Delph, Weimann; Agbonlahor, Benteke

So finally Louis van Gaal has decided that Falcao is fit enough to start. What do United fans think of that? Will he come good and justify his huge wage bill?

With the news of Falcao coming into the team it’s gone somewhat under the radar that Darren Fletcher has come in to replace Marouane Fellaini, who is unwell. Ander Herrera is also on the ‘unwell’ list. This is a huge day for Fletcher to impress.

The United bench is: Lindegaard, Di Maria, Rafael, Blackett, Wilson, Januzaj, McNair.

Meanwhile, on the bench for Villa: Given, Herd, Bacuna, Grealish, Calder, N’Zogbia, Robinson.

Interesting stat, that. With the news yesterday that Michael Carrick has surpassed Darren Fletcher as United’s vice captain of course.

Yaya Toure has put Manchester City 3-0 up meaning they’ll draw level on points with Chelsea, for the time being anyway. Chelsea don’t play until Monday evening when they travel to Stoke.

A win for United will see them remain five points behind City. Villa, meanwhile, can overtake both Stoke and Liverpool with a win.

On both occasions when these teams met last season United ran out easy winners, 4-1 in Old Trafford and 3-0 in Villa Park. Looking at the form of both teams coming into this game it could be a similar story today. The bookies certainly think so with United priced at 4/6 while Villa are 11/2 and the draw is 31/10.

The teams are out on the pitch and shaking hands. We’re nearly there now. It’s been 19 years since Villa beat United at home.


We are off!


We have two back threes coming up against each other here. How very modern!


A nice pullback from Young on the left wing finds van Persie who had dropped off the defensive line. His timing is off though and his shot scuttles harmlessly wide.


A slack pass from Young straight to Benteke could have seen United come under a bit of pressure but the Villa striker plays a slack pass himself and United regain possession.


Ashley Young has been greeted with a chorus of boos from the Villa Park faithful for moving to United.


I suppose you could say the former Villain is the villain at Villa Park today…


Okay, enough with the dreadful puns. United are dominating, they’ve had 74 percent of possession so far. Nothing clear cut has been created but United are being patient.


Just as I say that Villa nearly catch United on the break. Benteke spotted Weimann bursting through the United defence and tried to find him with a clipped pass. There was just a little too much on it though.


Remember Rooney played that pass to van Persie against Aston Villa and van Persie hit that volley? Well something similar just happened except van Persie was at a tighter angle and Guzan saved this one.


Aston Villa 1-0 Man United (Benteke, 19′)


Despite all the pressure United find themselves behind! A long free-kick lumped into the box is controlled on the chest by Benteke. He took his time, got the ball under control, shifted it a yard to find someone space and curled a beautiful shot into the top corner from 18 yards. A fantastic strike.


Here’s the goal. A truly great strike from Benteke.


Even though they’ve gone 1-0 down there isn’t too much to worry about for United. They’ve enjoyed the majority of possession so far and have got in behind a few times, especially on the left with Young who looks impressive again.


A sniff of a chance for Falcao. Van Persie’s through ball found the Colombian’s run but he was marshalled wide by Okore and his tame shot went straight to Guzan.


United have been camped on the edge of the Villa box since the goal. Worth remembering that the trend was similar before the goal but Villa still managed to score.


Aly Cissokho dispossesses Valencia and goes on a rampaging run down the right but his cross is blocked.


The ball is played out wide to Young. He cuts inside and plays a dipping right-footed cross that deceives everyone but is just tipped away by Guzan at the last moment. Young has the beating of Lowton every time on the left wing.


The last few minutes have been quiet enough. Villa have settled a little more after the initial United onslaught following the goal. They’re passing the ball around comfortably now.


Young hits a long range shot that goes so far over the bar it’s probably in a nearby Birmingham suburb at this stage. The Villa fans enjoyed that.


We’ve reached the break and Villa are still ahead. Maintain this lead and it will be only their second win over United in 37 attempts.

It’s half time around the grounds in the Premier League. Here are the latest scores:

  • Hull City 0-1 Swansea City
  • QPR 1-2 West Brom
  • Southampton 1-0 Everton
  • Spurs 2-1 Burnley
  • West Ham 1-0 Leicester

It’s sad to see but Darren Fletcher has really struggled in the first half. Maybe van Gaal needs to take him off for Blackett or McNair and push Carrick into midfield.

Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News is of a similar view.


We’re back underway.


And that exact change has happened. Blackett has come on for Fletcher, allowing Carrick to move into midfield. I do rental on my crystal palace if anyone is wondering…


Villa have gone straight on the attack. Delph’s shot was deflected out for a corner which he landed on the head of Benteke at the back post. His powerful header was going in but De Gea stretched to touch it over.


Great chance for United! Rooney slips van Persie through one-on-one with Guzan but he’s slightly off balance as he hits a shot and the American is able to parry it wide.


United are beginning to get into it now. This time it’s Mata who tests Guzan from 18 yards with a low drive.


Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United (Falcao, 54′)


All the talk was about the Colombian before the game and he’s delivered! Again Young got in behind Lowton before chipping into the six yard box where Falcao met it with a header past Guzan. Cue wild scenes of celebration in front of the United travelling support.


Here’s that Falcao goal.


United are in the ascendancy now. All that can be heard around Villa Park are the United fans. But, at least van Persie is coming off!

Oh no, wait, he’s been replaced by Di Maria.


A long range effort from Delph bounces awkwardly in front of De Gea, almost catching him out. No Villa player was following in quick enough to pick up on it though.


Agbonlahor has been sent off for Villa!


This is a controversial one. Both Young and Ahbonlahor came together in a 50-50. Young reached the ball first and Agbonlahor followed through, catching him on the ankle with his studs. To be honest, it looks a harsh one. Agbonlahor didn’t go in aggressively and wasn’t over the top of the ball.


If Young wasn’t being abused enough before the red card it’s just intensified ten-fold.


Di Maria cuts in from the left and feints once, twice, before eventually actually shooting but it’s a tame effort.


An excellent free-kick into the box from Delph drops to Clark. His effort looks to be going in but it’s blocked. Villa recycle it to Weimann on the edge of the box but his effort takes three deflections before going wide.


James Wilson replaces Valencia for United.


So Di Maria has moved onto the left, Young on the right with Mata behind Falcao and Wilson.


It’s all going off here! Blackett has been booked for fouling Lowton with Guzan subsequently booked for remonstrating with the referee.


Rooney’s corner is flicked on by Carrick at the front post but Okore does enough on the line to clear it for another corner. The second corner is then cleared for a third.


That third corner is cleared for a fourth corner.


And the fourth corner comes to nothing as Villa are awarded a free-kick. Bakuna and N’Zogbia are replacing Cissokho and Weimann for Villa.


We’ve seen United score late winners at Villa Park before, will this be another of those occasions? A loss would be a poor result for van Gaal’s side give that Villa are down to 10.


Very close for Villa! Bacuna receives the ball on the edge of the box. It’s a poor first touch but, as the ball bounces up, he unleashes a powerful volley that beats De Gea but just clips the bar.


We’ll have three minutes additional time.


That’s it and United’s winning streak comes to an end. Villa did very well to hold out but United didn’t really create anything clear-cut in the last 20 minutes.

That’s it from me, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more coverage of all of today’s games.