Manchester United 2-2 Aston Villa: Jack Grealish scores stunner as Man Utd held to draw
Report and highlights as Jack Grealish scored a stunning goal in the 11th minute to open the scoring
Last Updated: 02/12/19 6:50am
Manchester United drew 2-2 with Aston Villa at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were held by a newly-promoted side for the second game in a row.
United played out a dramatic 3-3 draw at Sheffield United last weekend, and things started in much the same way as a stunning Jack Grealish goal opened the scoring inside 11 minutes.
There was a slice of luck for United's equaliser as Marcus Rashford's header went in off the back of Tom Heaton (42), before Victor Lindelof (64) nodded them ahead in the second half. However, the lead lasted only 112 seconds as Tyrone Mings' (66) hooked finish sealed a point for the visitors.
It leaves United in ninth place on 18 points - level with Burnley and Crystal Palace and one behind Arsenal and Sheffield United - while Aston Villa are in 15th with 15 points, three above the drop zone.
How Man Utd toiled at Old Trafford
Aston Villa began well and took the lead with an absolute wonder-strike from Grealish.
Anwar El Ghazi pinged a lovely diagonal ball to him on the left-hand side, with Andreas Pereira standing off the Aston Villa captain enough to allow Grealish to move into space before curling a sensational effort into the far corner from the tightest of angles. It came at a price though, with El Ghazi slipping as he made the pass, and he was eventually replaced by Trezeguet not long after.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Lindelof (7), Maguire (7), Wan-Bissaka (6), Mata (7), Pereira (7), Fred (7), Williams (7), James (7), Rashford (7), Martial (7).
Subs used: Lingard (5), Shaw (5), Greenwood (n/a).
Aston Villa: Heaton (7), Guilbert (7), Konsa (7), Mings (7), Targett (7), McGinn (6), Luiz (7), Hourihane (7), El Ghazi (6), Welsey (5), Grealish (8).
Subs used: Trezeguet (6), Lansbury (n/a).
Man of the match: Jack Grealish.
The substitute thought he had doubled Aston Villa's lead just before the half-hour mark - but it was ruled out for offside. Grealish flashed the ball into the area with confusion between Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire inside the six-yard box allowing Trezeguet to poke home. However, the linesman had his offside flag raised to rule it out and the goal was reviewed by VAR, which showed that Grealish's heel was out of position and the decision to disallow the goal stood.
Despite being on the back foot for much of the first half, it was a fortuitous own goal that hauled United level in the 42nd minute. They took a short corner, with Fred playing in Juan Mata, who in turn picked out Pereira at the top of the area. He lofted a lovely cross in for Rashford, who nipped ahead of Ezri Konsa to nod the ball goalwards. But it bounced off the surface, onto the back of Heaton and into the net to count as an own-goal against the goalkeeper.
- Man Utd made one change from last weekend’s Premier League game. Phil Jones dropped out of the matchday 18 with Juan Mata coming in.
- Dean Smith named the same team that started in the 2-0 win against Newcastle on Monday Night Football and Bjorn Engels started on the bench following his return from injury.
Both teams could have scored early in the second half. Heaton was called into action just before the hour mark as Anthony Martial tricked and turned his way through the area, with his shot forcing a leaping save from the goalkeeper. At the other end, Trezeguet's attempted shot pinged off the legs inside the area before landing to the incoming Grealish at the back post, but he could poke it past the upright.
A minute later, and the hosts took the lead. It was scored at a similar angle to Grealish's opener as Fred floated a lovely ball towards the back post, which was sent further on its way by the head of Wesley. It looked to be heading out of play but Lindelof had other ideas, losing his marker before rising up to nod the ball into the far corner on a tight angle.
The lead was short lived as Aston Villa equalised less than two minutes later. Matt Targett floated a wonderful forward pass over a cluster of players and Mings pulled away from the pack to hook the ball home, although he did not celebrate with the threat of a VAR check on the horizon. There was no offside flag raised initially and the replays showed that Mings was well onside, handing Aston Villa a much-needed and well deserved point away from home.
Man of the match - Jack Grealish
It was another superb performance from the Aston Villa captain at Old Trafford. He and Conor Hourihane caused Manchester United some real issues in the middle of the park, and it showed when he was fouled four times in the opening 20 minutes.
He took his goal with absolute confidence in his ability, curling home a stunning effort across the face of goal. Many players have tried the same and sent the ball flying into row Z. Grealish is leading from the front this season and his ability is surely becoming hard for Gareth Southgate to ignore.
What the managers said
Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "It was end-to-end. The first half, we started OK and then I felt we got knocked a little bit emotionally when they scored that goal. We couldn't get a grip of the game, we couldn't control it, we couldn't put pressure on them and I think we were lucky to be at 1-1 at half-time.
"But in the second half, I thought we did better, even though they could have scored, we should have scored more. We're scoring goals, that is a big plus and we need to stop conceding.
"We've had the lead loads of times this season. We've started games really well, last weekend we didn't but turned it around and today we did the same so they [the players] have got the character and attitude, but I'd like to keep hold of those games and win because it makes a big difference winning three points and perhaps six or seven times we've had the lead and conceded."
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith: "I thought it was a good game, an exciting game. I thought we were good in the first half, we restricted them to a few chances and took the lead with a good goal through Jack. We had another couple of chances as well so I was pleased with the first-half performance.
"In the second half, we lost a couple of duels and it got their crowd up a little bit and we gave away a soft goal from a set piece - that's the thing that will annoy me the most. There's not a lot you can do about the second one, but there was a good spirit to come back from that and they put us under pressure at the end. But there were chances for both sides and it's amazing how a game can turn."
- Manchester United have won just 18 points in the Premier League this season; their fewest after 14 games of a top-flight campaign since 1988-89 (18), when they went on to finish 11th in the table.
- Aston Villa's Jack Grealish has been directly involved in seven goals in the Premier League this season (three goals and four assists); the most of any English midfielder.
- Victor Lindelof's goal was just his second in 84 appearances for Manchester United in all competitions, while they've both been scored at Old Trafford past goalkeeper Tom Heaton (previously versus Burnley in January).
Man Utd have two huge games over the next six days. They will be reunited with Jose Mourinho on Wednesday as they host Tottenham in the Premier League before making the short trip to Manchester City on Saturday evening, live on Sky Sports.
Aston Villa have a trip to Chelsea in midweek, also on Wednesday, before welcoming Leicester to Villa Park live on Renault Super Sunday.