Danny Welbeck scored twice as Manchester United avoided a third Premier League defeat in a row by overwhelming Aston Villa.

Welbeck's goals came in the space of three minutes - his opener coming when he slotted in after Adnan Januzaj's header rebounded off the post.

The England striker then slid in to score from Antonio Valencia's cross.

Moyes glad to see Welbeck scoring

Villa struggled to cope with the visitors and Wayne Rooney set up Tom Cleverley to drive in a third.

United had picked up just two points from their previous four league matches but the style with which they saw off Villa hinted at a return of form and confidence.

The Red Devils are still 10 points behind top-flight leaders Arsenal and seven points adrift of the top four, but they made sure they did not lose a third Premier League game in succession for the first time since December 2001.

Villa had not beaten United at home since 1995 and that record only ever looked like being extended as they lost for the fifth time in eight league outings at their Midlands base.

The home side were hoping to take capitalise on United's poor form and applied some early pressure, with winger Marc Albrighton twice shooting from distance, only for his efforts to be comfortably saved by keeper David De Gea.

Analysis

"It was very comfortable for Manchester United. They were in complete control and Villa were never in the game. Manchester United were worthy winners."

However, the visitors responded in emphatic fashion, with two goals from Welbeck putting them firmly in command by half-time.

Rafael's determination helped him cross from the right and, after the unmarked Januzaj's header came back off the inside of the post, Welbeck reacted quickest to side-foot in the rebound from six yards.

The home side barely had time to recover before falling further behind. Villa defender Nathan Baker gave the ball away and Welbeck laid a pass off to right-winger Valencia before charging into the area and beating Januzaj to slot in the Ecuadorian's low cross.

The uplift in United's demeanour from the two goals was palpable and they slickly scythed through Villa with a regularity and ease that threatened more goals.

The pace and trickery of Valencia was particularly potent, and he pulled the ball back for Rooney to drag a shot wide before threading a pass through to Welbeck, who angled his effort beyond Villa keeper Brad Guzan's right-hand post.

Man Utd were clinical - Lambert

Villa rarely troubled De Gea as striker Christian Benteke continued to look out of sorts and notched up a 10th game without scoring.

And United wrapped up the win when the impressive Rooney slid a lovely weighted ball into the path of Cleverley, who scored his first league goal a year to the day since his last one.

Another positive note for United was the 70th-minute introduction of midfielder Darren Fletcher, who returned to first-team action for the first time since Boxing Day last year as he continues his recovery after bowel surgery.

See a photo gallery of all the action from Sunday's Premier League matches on the BBC Sport Facebook site. 

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert:

"I thought we started as well as we have done for a number of weeks but the first goal was poor as we should have stopped the cross.

"The second and third goals, we were in possession before they scored.

"The pleasing thing is we never gave up. The disappointing thing for me is the manner of the goals."

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (6)

Aston Villa

  • 01 Guzan
  • 34 Lowton Booked
  • 14 Luna
  • 15 Westwood
  • 06 Clark Booked
  • 02 Baker Booked
  • 08 El Ahmadi (Bacuna - 86' )
  • 18 Sylla (Weimann - 62' )
  • 20 Benteke (Kozák - 79' )
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 11 Agbonlahor Booked

Substitutes

  • 07 Bacuna
  • 10 Weimann
  • 13 Steer
  • 21 Bowery
  • 22 Gardner
  • 24 Tonev
  • 27 Kozák

Manchester United

  • 01 de Gea Booked
  • 02 Rafael
  • 03 Evra
  • 23 Cleverley
  • 04 Jones
  • 06 Evans
  • 25 Antonio Valencia
  • 11 Giggs (Fletcher - 70' )
  • 19 Welbeck Booked
  • 10 Rooney (Zaha - 84' )
  • 44 Januzaj (Young - 69' )

Substitutes

  • 05 Ferdinand
  • 13 Lindegaard
  • 18 Young
  • 22 Fabio
  • 24 Fletcher
  • 28 Büttner
  • 29 Zaha
Ref: Lee Mason
Att: 42,682

Match Stats

Shots

17 14

On target

6 5

Corners

3 4

Fouls

15 8

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 3.

90:00 +3:01 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 3.

90:00 +2:30

Foul by Rafael (Manchester United).

90:00 +2:30

Antonio Luna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90:00 +0:02

Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90:00 +0:02

Foul by Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa).

88:34

Foul by Patrice Evra (Manchester United).

88:34

Libor Kozák (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

88:13

Attempt missed. Darren Fletcher (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Ashley Young with a cross following a corner.

87:47

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

85:49 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Leandro Bacuna replaces Karim El Ahmadi.

85:05

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United).

85:05

Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83:54 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Wilfried Zaha replaces Wayne Rooney.

83:13

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Brad Guzan.

83:11

Attempt saved. Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Danny Welbeck.

78:48 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Libor Kozák replaces Christian Benteke.

77:38 Booking

Booking Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card.

77:04 Booking

Booking Nathan Baker (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

76:29

Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:29

Foul by Nathan Baker (Aston Villa).

75:53

Attempt saved. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

74:45

Foul by Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

74:45

Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73:49

Attempt blocked. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

72:45

Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

72:10 Booking

Booking Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

72:02

Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

72:02

Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

69:13 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Darren Fletcher replaces Ryan Giggs.

68:59 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Ashley Young replaces Adnan Januzaj.

66:56

Attempt missed. Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Karim El Ahmadi.

64:26 Booking

Booking Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

64:10

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

64:10

Foul by Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa).

62:08

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Tom Cleverley.

62:04

Attempt blocked. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

62:02

Attempt blocked. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

61:18 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Andreas Weimann replaces Yacouba Sylla.

60:58

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

57:56

Attempt saved. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner.

56:40

Attempt missed. Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

55:35

Attempt blocked. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Rafael.

54:36

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

53:25

Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

53:25

Foul by Nathan Baker (Aston Villa).

52:45

Attempt missed. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

51:21 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 3. Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Wayne Rooney with a through ball.

50:44

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

50:44

Foul by Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa).

49:53

Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:53

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

49:08 Booking

Booking Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

49:06 Booking

Booking David de Gea (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card.

48:32

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by David de Gea.

47:37

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

47:37

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

47:07

Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:07

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

46:23

Attempt missed. Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

45:00

Second Half begins Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 2.

45:00 +1:00 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 2.

45:00 +0:20

Offside, Aston Villa. Brad Guzan tries a through ball, but Gabriel Agbonlahor is caught offside.

44:53

Offside, Manchester United. Wayne Rooney tries a through ball, but Luis Antonio Valencia is caught offside.

40:47

Attempt missed. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Karim El Ahmadi.

39:31

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

38:45

Delay in match Nathan Baker (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

37:18

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

37:18

Foul by Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa).

34:47

Offside, Manchester United. Ryan Giggs tries a through ball, but Luis Antonio Valencia is caught offside.

34:18

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

34:18

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

33:19

Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Antonio Valencia with a through ball.

30:43

Foul by Rafael (Manchester United).

30:43

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

27:56

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Antonio Valencia.

27:37

Attempt blocked. Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

25:56

Attempt blocked. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Yacouba Sylla.

23:10

Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:10

Foul by Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa).

22:27

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Manchester United).

22:27

Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

21:35

Attempt saved. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

18:37

Foul by Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).

18:37

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:43 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 2. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Luis Antonio Valencia with a cross.

16:25

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

15:39

Offside, Aston Villa. Brad Guzan tries a through ball, but Gabriel Agbonlahor is caught offside.

14:39 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 1. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

14:37

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) hits the left post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Rafael with a cross.

12:08

Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:08

Foul by Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa).

11:33

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Rafael.

10:50

Attempt blocked. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luis Antonio Valencia with a cross.

9:45

Attempt saved. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Karim El Ahmadi.

8:51

Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Phil Jones with a headed pass.

8:13

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ashley Westwood.

5:07

Attempt blocked. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

3:35

Attempt saved. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

2:55

Foul by Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa).

2:55

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

2:10

Foul by Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).

2:10

Nathan Baker (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

1:51

Attempt saved. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

0:18

Foul by Antonio Luna (Aston Villa).

0:18

Rafael (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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