Hosts Villa actually looked more threatening in the early stages but were two goals down before the 20-minute mark as Danny Welbeck scored twice in three minutes.
Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at a first win for over a month for manager David Moyes and United.
On target 6
On target 5
Was the result fair?
Oh, yes. As mentioned above, Villa actually looked quite good in the early stages and tested David de Gea with a couple of long-range shots. That's about as good as it got for the home side, though, as United scored two quick goals to dampen the mood inside Villa Park. From there onwards it was easy-peasy for United as Villa rarely threatened.
Not being able to create a clear-cut opportunity at home, no matter who it is against, is never a good sign. Christian Benteke still has not scored since September after another lifeless performance up front and that will worry Villa manager Paul Lambert. At the back, Lambert will probably view all three goals as avoidable, especially the third after a slack pass from left-back Antonio Luna, who struggled all afternoon to handle United's wideman Antonio Valencia.
A welcome return to form for Moyes's side as they brushed aside what were a poor Villa outfit on the day. Welbeck and Cleverley will be delighted to get on the scoresheet, especially the latter who netted with his first shot on target this campaign. Without Robin van Persie, much of the focus was on Wayne Rooney to run the show but he took more of a backseat, particularly in the first half when Valencia and Januzaj shone. Elsewhere, United did not have to work too hard against lacklustre Villa.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Antonio Valencia: Welbeck will get plenty of plaudits but Valencia was the one who stood out down the right. He came up against a shaky opponent in Luna and really showed him up. A mention to Villa's right-winger Marc Albrighton for an impressive display on the opposite flank on his first league start since New Year's Day.
No standout gaffes at Villa Park today but we'll pick on Rooney for dragging his shot wide from just inside the area after a cutback from Valencia in the first half.
Lee Mason had quite a fiery game to deal with but did well. He twice had to book a man from each team after scuffles between David de Gea and Gabriel Agbonlahor and Welbeck and Nathan Baker. He also could have sent off Patrice Evra for striking Matt Lowton angrily on the backside but that would have been harsh.
Villa: Next up for Villa is a trip to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
United: Stoke are also next for United in the League Cup on Wednesday night before they host West Ham in the league on Saturday.