Old Trafford witnessed yet another upstage from a mediocre opposition that returned wondering if they deserved more than a point. United have still only won four Premier League matches this season, with Solskjaer under pressure at the Theatre of Dreams. A Tom Heaton own goal, forced by Marcus Rashford’s header cancelled out Grealish’s opener to sum up a damp first half. Victor Lindelof then headed in only his second United goal to take back the lead but Tyrone Mings restored parity to punish a lacklustre home display. Despite the injuries and long term project, a win over Aston Villa is something we as fans have come to expect at Old Trafford over the years.
David De Gea – 5.5
Helpless for both the goals. Better positioning from the defenders could’ve helped him.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5.5
Had the chance to get into some great positions but couldn’t deliver the final ball. Work needed going forward. Grealish looked comfortable against him.
Victor Lindelof – 6.5
A smart header to give United the lead in the second half but defensively was caught out a couple of times. Needs to tighten up his game to avoid losing his place in the side.
Harry Maguire – 6
A rocky start to the game with a yellow card in the 7′. Settled down thereafter. “Very disappointed”, he said after the game.
Brandon Williams – 4.5
Recently inducted into the first team and was rested for the Astana game. Showed a lot of promise but was worked hard by the Villains. Lost his man leading to the first goal. Subbed after looking shaky at times. A little out of his depth, particularly for Villa’s second as he was slow to react and push out of the box, allowing Mings to break the offside line and rifle in the equaliser. A wake up call for the player and the board to continue the hunt for a dominant left back as there is no substitute for experience.
Fred – 6
Failed to put his hand up yet again against a mediocre opposition. Riddled with sloppy touches, misreads and mis controls impeding any kind of rhythm for the brazilian. Booked in the first half for a cynical challenge.A decent back post cross for Lindelof’s equalizer. Always looked to play forward, even if it did not always come off. Missed his partner McTominay but was the better midfielder on the day.
Andreas Pereira – 5.5
Tried to rough up Grealish but failed to stay close enough to him for the opening goal. He did produce a moment of quality just on the stroke of the interval with his exquisite delivery picking out Rashford perfectly. Half a point for the assist. Yet another certifying performance that the Brazilian isn’t cut out for a deep lying midfield role.
Juan Mata – 5
The once deft passer had nothing to show but the pass into Pereira for the Assist. Looks fallen from grace and in pace.
Daniel James – 6
Occasional bursts of pace in the counters not only left defenders behind but found no takers for his balls into the box on several instances. Didn’t have the best of outings.A learning curve.
Marcus Rashford – 7
Scored United’s first goal to get the spirits up and continue his good form. Only player looking threatening on the pitch at the moment. Will be crucial in the coming box office fixtures.
Anthony Martial – 5
Was rendered irrelevant for most parts of the game. Flashes of brilliance with his biggest chance coming after wrestling the ball away from Villa’s defence in a crowded six-yard box, he chipped over Heaton from point-blank range but also over the crossbar. Looks effortless and eloquent when in flow, comes off lazy when draws a blank. Many rungs to climb in order to be a proficient United talisman especially off the ball.
Lingard – 5 (Mata 74′)
Came in to inject fresh pace, fell way short of creating any chances to clinch much needed 3 points.
Shaw – 5 (Williams 79′)
Brought in to everyone’s surprise, failed to provide teeth on the left side in pursuit of a winner.
Greenwood – 5 (Martial 82′)
Brought in to fish out a match winner if possible.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 5
A disappointing evening in terms of the performance and result. A brave move to play Brandon at the back, a move that didn’t quite pan out. A bizarre decision to bring in Shaw seeking a goal, probably just wanted to get Williams off. Substitutes failed to make any impact and the tactics failed to break down the Villain rearguard. Pressure is mounting and the walls are well and truly closing in.
The Crowd – 8
A stark contrast from disgruntled fans on social media. More of belief and faith than anything else despite not being fully pleased with what they’re witnessing. Vocal and cheerful, desperate for success in the Ole project.
United lacked any sort of control or authority in the middle of the park.They looked anything but a team well rested mid week and rearing to go. A win at Astana would’ve been discounted but a loss has the murmurs cooking up. A draw against Sheffield and now against Villa at home leaves United with just 2 points after scoring 5 goals in those games. A punctured midfield and a premium priced underperforming defense brings a lot of worry with the fixtures up ahead. A rejuvenated Spurs in just two days time headed by an egoistic Jose Mourinho is anything but easy to deal with. City after that means rock and a hard place. Pogba and McTominay are desperately needed back in midfield but even they would come with no guarantees after long injuries. However, two magical results might put more seed into the Ole project. If not, the rallying cries would get louder, something i don’t think is neither part of the solution nor motivating for a team and a manager in need of support. The glazers and Ed Woodward are the evil but sadly Ole is not immune to the spillover of whats transpiring on the field.
The eternal optimist in me hopes for an imminent brighter dawn for these certainly are the darkest nights we’ve seen during recent times.