Premier League
Man UtdManchester United3Aston VillaAston Villa1

Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
Ander Herrera
Ander Herrera has scored seven times for Manchester United since joining from Athletic Bilbao in a £29m transfer in June
  • Herrera scores twice as Manchester United move up to third
  • Rooney gets his 185th Premier League goal
  • Benteke scores for Aston Villa, who remain 16th in the table
  • United face Manchester City and Chelsea in next two games

Manchester United defeated Aston Villa to move above Manchester City and into third place in the Premier League.

Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan tipped over Marcos Rojo's powerful 25-yard effort, but was beaten by Ander Herrera's low shot after good work from Daley Blind.

Wayne Rooney added a second goal when he spun and fired into the top corner.

Villa's Christian Benteke pulled one back with a low strike before Herrera scored his second with a side-footed finish in injury-time to seal the win.

Man Utd still in rat race - Van Gaal

Louis van Gaal's side deserved the victory, their fifth in a row in the Premier League, after having 77% possession and restricting their opponents to only two shots on target.

However, Benteke's goal, which came within two minutes of Rooney's spectacular effort, gave the hosts a scare before Herrera's late goal secured the three points.

The result was enough to take United above bitter rivals Manchester City, although Manuel Pellegrini's team will go second if they beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.

United are now eight points above fifth-placed Liverpool as they aim to return to the Champions League after a season without European football.

Van Gaal's side now face a vital spell with a home derby against Manchester City followed by a trip to leaders Chelsea.

Defeat for Villa sees them remain three points above the relegation zone with a crucial home game on Tuesday against fellow strugglers QPR.

Manchester United's remaining matches
HomeAway
12 April v Manchester City18 April v Chelsea
2 May v West Brom26 April v Everton
17 May v Arsenal9 May v Crystal Palace
24 May v Hull City

United had to be patient in the first half against a well-organised Villa side before Herrera put them ahead two minutes before the break.

Ashley Young released the overlapping Blind and he pulled the ball back to the unmarked Spanish midfielder, who took a touch to set himself and drilled the ball past Guzan from 12 yards out.

Villa should have equalised when Jores Okore met Leandro Bacuna's flighted free-kick but glanced a header wide from eight yards.

Villa always in game - Sherwood

That miss proved costly as Rooney, who had a first-half appeal for a penalty turned down after he had been challenged by Ciaran Clark, scored his sixth goal in his last eight United appearances.

Substitute Angel Di Maria played the ball into Rooney and the England captain did well to control the pass, spin and shoot past Guzan.

It looked like the game would be over as a contest but Villa responded when Joe Cole's corner - Villa's first - found its way to Benteke and the Belgian striker's shot squeezed underneath David De Gea.

That goal, only the fifth Villa have scored in the second half in 16 away league matches, was not the start of a fightback as Juan Mata played in Herrera who scored the third to seal the win.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood:

"I thought we stuck in there and were always in the game until the third goal killed us.

"But it was encouraging. They have given me everything and left nothing on the pitch, but Manchester United were too good for us."

On his side's match against QPR on Tuesday, Sherwood added: "It's a massive game for us. They got a win but we're hoping to have six points between us and them at the end of that match."

Ashley Young
United's Ashley Young scored 39 goals in 193 games in a four-and-a-half-year spell at Aston Villa
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney has now got six goals from his last eight Manchester United appearances
Ander Herrera
Five of Ander Herrera's seven goals for Manchester United have come in 2015
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney has now scored 185 Premier League goals, only Andy Cole (187) and Alan Shearer (260) have scored more
Christian Benteke
Aston Villa have only scored 20 goals in the Premier League in 31 matches this season
Ander Herrera
It was the first time Ander Herrera had scored twice in the same match since joining Manchester United

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 4Jones
  • 5Rojo
  • 17Blind
  • 16Carrick
  • 8Mata
  • 21Herrera
  • 31FellainiSubstituted forFalcaoat 77'minutes
  • 18YoungSubstituted forDi Maríaat 70'minutes
  • 10Rooney

Substitutes

  • 2da Silva
  • 7Di María
  • 9Falcao
  • 11Januzaj
  • 32Valdés
  • 33McNair
  • 44Pereira

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 21HuttonSubstituted forBacunaat 45'minutes
  • 5Okore
  • 6Clark
  • 34Lowton
  • 28N'ZogbiaSubstituted forBakerat 61'minutes
  • 24C Sánchez
  • 16DelphBooked at 83mins
  • 10WeimannSubstituted forColeat 77'minutes
  • 20Benteke
  • 11Agbonlahor

Substitutes

  • 2Baker
  • 4Vlaar
  • 7Bacuna
  • 12Cole
  • 25Gil
  • 31Given
  • 40Grealish
Referee:
Roger East
Attendance:
75,397

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home76%
Away24%
Shots
Home20
Away5
Shots on Target
Home7
Away2
Corners
Home10
Away2
Fouls
Home15
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 3, Aston Villa 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Aston Villa 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

  4. Post update

    Joe Cole (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 3, Aston Villa 1. Ander Herrera (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Juan Mata.

  6. Post update

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

  7. Post update

    Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

  8. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Matthew Lowton.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Joe Cole.

  10. Post update

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

  11. Post update

    Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

  12. Post update

    Foul by Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).

  13. Post update

    Joe Cole (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Falcao (Manchester United) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Jores Okore.

  16. Booking

    Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Ángel Di María (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Fabian Delph (Aston Villa).

  19. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Phil Jones.

  20. Post update

    Hand ball by Jores Okore (Aston Villa).