Dec 15, 2013 at 1.30pm UK at ​Villa Park
Aston Villa
Man UtdManchester United

Agbonlahor (50'), Lowton (65'), Clark (73'), Baker (78')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Welbeck (16', 19'), Cleverley (52')
de Gea (50'), Welbeck (78')

Live Commentary: Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United - as it happened

Read how Manchester United won their first Premier League game for over a month by seeing off Aston Villa.

Manchester United were after their first Premier League victory for over a month when they travelled to Aston Villa on Sunday lunchtime.

The Red Devils achieved three points thanks to a brace from Danny Welbeck in three first-half minutes before Tom Cleverley sealed the points in the second.

Read how it all unfolded at Villa Park in our minute-by-minute updates below.

12.31pmAfternoon folks! There's two Premier League games kicking off in an hour's time and here we will be focussing on Villa Park and Aston Villa vs. Manchester United. Team news should be with us very shortly.

12.33pmVILLA XI: Guzan; Lowton, Clark, Baker, Luna; Westwood, El Ahmadi, Sylla; Albrighton, Agbonlahor; Benteke

12.34pmVILLA SUBS: Steer, Bacuna, Weimann, Bowery, Gardner, Tonev, Kozak

12.36pmPaul Lambert makes four changes to his Villa side as Matt Lowton, Antonio Luna, Yacouba Sylla and Marc Albrighton come in for Leandro Bacuna, Criag Herd, Fabian Delph and Andreas Weimann.

12.38pmAlbrighton's inclusion is perhaps the most noteworthy as he makes his first league start since New Year's Day over 11 months ago. Lambert might feel that he can get at shaky United left-back Patrice Evra.

12.40pmUNITED XI: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Giggs, Januzaj; Rooney, Welbeck

12.41pmUNITED SUBS: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Fabio, Young, Buttner, Fletcher, Zaha

12.43pmMoyes mirrors Lambert in making four alterations to his starting lineup from last weekend's home defeat to Newcastle, with Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck in the starting lineup for Nemanja Vidic, Nani, Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie.

12.47pmREFEREE WATCH: The man in charge today is Chris Foy. He's refereed Villa once and United twice this season, with both sides winning those games.

12.50pmYou might also notice that Darren Fletcher has returned to the United bench. His last Premier League appearance was 354 days ago when he came on as a substitute against Newcastle on Boxing Day.

12.53pmIt was announced earlier this week that Van Persie would be out for around a month with a thigh injury. His absence is cushioned by the returning Wayne Rooney, who was suspended for last week's game against Newcastle. Rooney, who has been involved with a goal or assist in 60% of United's goals this season, is making his 500th club appearance today.

Man United's Wayne Rooney is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening goal against Cardiff on November 24, 2013© Getty Images

12.56pmAs welcome as the return of Darren Fletcher may be, you look at the United bench and think how weak it looks. However, don't forget how blighted they are with key injuries at the moment with Vidic, Van Persie, Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling and Michael Carrick all missing.

12.59pmWhen these two sides last met at Old Trafford in April United won 3-0 to clinch the Premier League title. Van Persie scored a hat-trick that included this memorable volley:

1.04pmLast season's match here at Villa Park was also a United victory as they remarkably recovered from a 2-0 deficit thanks to a Javier Hernandez brace and Ron Vlaar own goal.

1.08pmHere's what Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has just told Sky Sports News: "It's a huge game and no-one needs lifting for this one. You have to try to get on the front foot. Them not winning a couple of games isn't a crisis and if you look at their team they're still a top side. We'll go and try to win the game."

1.11pmIn an interview with Sky Sports News, United left-back Evra said that it is 'unconceivable' for United to finish outside of the top four. They are currently nine points adrift of Everton in fourth place after 15 games. Click here to see how the table looks ahead of today's three matches.

1.14pmSpeaking of the other games, you can follow the other 1.30pm kickoff between Norwich City and Swansea City with Barney Corkhill by clicking here. Later today at 4pm it's Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool and our live text updates for that one will be on site from 3pm.

1.16pmMoyes has just told Sky Sports News that "it's great news for anybody who's had a bad illness", regarding the return of Fletcher.

1.19pmFormer striker of both Villa and United Dwight Yorke has backed Christian Benteke to end his goalscoring drought today. The Belgian hasn't scored for the Villans since September.

1.20pmPREDICTION TIME! Just 10 minutes until kickoff in Birmingham. I have to say that I fancy Villa to end the run of five straight league defeats to United. A draw seems the most likely result to me and I have to agree with Yorke and say that Benteke will find the net.

1.23pmIt's a cloudy day in Birmingham as the players exit the dressing room and line up in the tunnel.



1.28pmThe two sides are out now and kickoff is almost upon us. Villa are in their claret and blue home colours while United don their white tops, black shorts, white socks away kit.

1 minKICKOFF! We're off at Villa Park.

2 minFirst shot of the day comes from El Ahmadi as he lets fly from 25 yards. It bounces awkwardly in front of De Gea but the young Spanish stopper holds well.

4 minSHOT! De Gea is tested again as Albrighton squeezes a shot past Evra that isn't close enough to the corner to beat the United keeper.

5 minAgbonlahor with a quick double-touch to earn a yard of space from Rafael. He then produces a good low cross that Evra defends well in the middle with Albrighton lurking.

9 minJanuzaj is usually given quite a free role when he plays for United but he's clearly starting from the left today and wins a corner after trying to take on Lowton. The set piece doesn't come to much as it's played short to Evra before Welbeck's overhead effort in the middle is an easy catch for Guzan.

10 minSHOT! Evra gives the ball away carelessly on the edge of the area and Albrighton again tests De Gea with a well-struck low volley.

12 minAgain it's Evra who concedes possession, allowing Albrighton to break forward down the right. He slips in Benteke but the Belgian's first touch is just heavy enough to allow Rafael to get back and make a tackle.

1.43pmUPDATE: There's been a goal in Norfolk as Nathan Dyer puts Swansea one-nil up against Norwich.

15 min


15 minFirst blood to the visitors as Rafael crosses from the right and Januzaj arrives unmarked to head low past Guzan. You're waiting for the net to bulge but the ball comes back off the post and straight to Welbeck, who can't miss with Guzan out of position.


18 minTwo goals in three minutes for United as Baker fails to clear and Valencia is put in down the right. He crosses low and both Januzaj and Welbeck slide for the ball, with the latter making contact and sending the ball in off the underside of the bar.

22 minAgbonlahor has Villa's third shot on target but again it's easy for De Gea to keep out. The home side looked far more like scoring until that quick double salvo from Welbeck. Is there any way back for Villa? They might recall this fixture last year when United managed to overturn a two-goal deficit.

26 min

29 minCHANCES! United should be three ahead. First Welbeck plays in Valencia with a sublime flick but the Ecuadorian couldn't find a teammate in the middle. Then, Rafael outmuscled his man on the right flank before playing in Valencia who cut back for Rooney. With the form he's in, you're waiting for him to find the bottom corner but he dragged his shot slightly and it curled wide.

33 minAs things stand, United are climbing up to eighth in the table.

34 minCHANCE! United look so dangerous at the moment and this time it's Welbeck who spurns the chance to score a first-half hat-trick. He's played in by Valencia and just has Guzan to beat from the right of the area but can only pull his shot wide.

37 minHere's @OptaJoe on Twitter: "16 - Manchester United have now scored exactly twice as many away goals (16) as they have at home (8) in the PL this season. Free."

41 minWestwood scored a belter at the end of November against Birmingham rivals West Brom and he has a pop from range that sails over the crossbar.

44 minEvra is lucky not to receive at least a booking after striking Lowton on the backside after a heavy challenge from the Villa right-back.

45 minOne minute of time has been added on. Lambert will just want to get his players in and try to work out how they can get back into this game.


2.16pmVilla remain the only side not to have scored a first-half goal at home this season. They started brightly but were hit by United's quality twice in three minutes and now face a huge task to get anything out of this game.

2.19pmUPDATE: Norwich have levelled at Carrow Road thanks to a 25-yard volley from Gary Hooper.

2.23pmIf you're only just joining us and want a quick summary of the first half before the second begins, click here to read our half-time report.

2.25pmRooney is certainly playing freely today as this heat map from Squawka shows:

2.28pmLambert's options look quite limited on the bench. If things don't improve soon surely he will consider bringing on Libor Kozak and/or Andreas Weimann.

46 minKICKOFF! We're back underway at Villa Park. No half-time changes from either manager.

47 minFirst chance of the second half goes to Villa as Ireland wins the ball easily from Evra, who has been responsible for a lot of the hosts' openings, and lays it off for Albrighton. He digs out a cross to the back post where Sylla is all alone but can't head on target.

50 minYELLOWS! Mason dishes out the first yellow cards of the game to De Gea and Agbonlahor after a bit or argy-bargy in the area.


52 minSurely game over as Luna gives the ball away and Rooney finds the run of Cleverley, who beats Guzan at his near post. His first league goal of the season.

55 minRooney looks to make it four with a free kick to the right of the area from 25 yards. He curls it around the wall but there's not enough bend on it to trouble the target.

57 minWow, apparently that third goal was also Cleverley's only shot on target this whole season!

57 minHalf-chance for Villa as Albrighton, who has been bright on his first start for over 11 months, finds Benteke in the middle. The Belgian has his back to goal but manages to find Sylla, who curls way over the bar from the edge of the area.

59 minSHOT! Albrighton fires a volley from a tight angle that takes a slight deflection and worries De Gea at his near post. Solid stop from the United keeper though.

62 minVILLA SUB: As expected, Weimann is the first to be sent on by Lambert, with Sylla making way.

63 minWeimann also makes an instant impact as a loose ball goes his way in the area. He lashes at goal but is denied by a great block from Jones.

64 minBOOKING! Lowton is cautioned for a foul on Januzaj.

67 minDarren Fletcher strips down to his kit on the sideline. He'll be coming on for his first appearance for almost a year.

70 minUNITED SUBS: Fletcher joins Ashley Young in being introduced for Giggs and Januzaj.

72 minHere's a shot of Cleverley celebrating United's third:

Tom Cleverley of Manchester United celebrates as he scores their thrid goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park on December 15, 2013© Getty Images

73 minCHANCE! An opening for Welbeck to claim his first United hat-trick as Rooney bundles his way into the area and the loose ball pops out for Welbeck. There's a number of bodies in the way so he goes for a chip but puts too much on it.

76 minSolid stop from De Gea low to his right to keep out El Ahmadi's free kick.

77 minBOOKINGS! Both Welbeck and Clark have their names taken after the latter brought down the United striker, who reacted badly to the tackle by shoving the Villa man.

79 minVILLA SUB: Lambert chucks on Kozak for Benteke, who's had another quiet afternoon. His goal drought goes on.

82 minUnited appeal for a penalty as Lowton accidentally kicks the ball against his arm. Mason correctly shakes his head.

84 minSAVE! Cleverley almost joins Welbeck in bagging a brace as he fires powerfully at goal but is denied by Guzan's outstretched hand.

85 minUNITED SUB: Rooney's had quite a quiet afternoon and is taken off with five minutes to go. Young winger Wilfried Zaha enters.

86 minVILLA SUB: Leandro Bacuna comes on for the hosts, with El Ahmadi making way.

89 minAnother stat from @OptaJoe on Twitter: "8 - Man Utd have now had the same number of individual PL goalscorers as Man City this season, despite scoring 22 goals fewer. Spread."

90 minTHREE minutes of time added on. This will be United's first league victory for five games.


3.20pmUnited return to winning ways thanks to a comfortable victory over Villa. The hosts started well but never really threatened and were outclassed in the end.

3.22pmDanny Welbeck scored two goals in three first-half minutes before Tom Cleverley found the net to seal victory in the second half. Another plus for United was the return to action of Darren Fletcher after 354 days out:

3.25pmClick here to see how the table looks after today's first two games. United move up to eighth on 25 points and are now 10 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

3.27pmIn the other game to kick off at 1.30pm, the full-time whistle has just gone and it finished 1-1 between Norwich and Swansea.

3.29pmWe're out of time here, thanks for joining Sports Mole for updates. I now recommend that you click here to follow our coverage of the 4pm game between Spurs and Liverpool.

United forward Javier Hernandez celebrates a goal against West Brom on May 19, 2013
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