Premier League
Aston Villa0Man Utd1

Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United

Adnan Januzaj
Adnan Januzaj scored his first Manchester United goal since 5 April 2014 against Newcastle

Manchester United maintained their impressive record at Villa Park as they beat Aston Villa thanks to Adnan Januzaj's first-half strike.

Januzaj, who made a rare start having been linked with a loan move away, scored as United took their unbeaten run at the ground to 20 league matches.

The winger put United ahead when he got on the end of Juan Mata's incisive pass and finished from close range.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Januzaj must do more than score - Van Gaal

Villa rarely threatened as the Red Devils kept a second clean sheet.

The victory lifted United to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since August 2013.

Memphis Depay had a chance to increase the margin of victory after the break when he was slipped in by Mata, but could only curl his shot past the post.

Villa only sporadically put the United defence under pressure with forward Gabby Agbonlahor's header from a corner the best chance that the home side could muster.

Relive Manchester United's win over Aston Villa

Rooney lacking threat in attack

Rooney touch map

Striker Wayne Rooney was supposed to be the main man up front this season but the early signs have been a little worrying for United.

As in the opening game against Tottenham the United and England skipper struggled to make an impact leading the line.

And it was not until injury time that he touched the ball in the opposition penalty area, as demonstrated in this graphic.

Manchester United manager Van Gaal said before the season started that he may not buy another striker because Rooney could carry the club's goalscoring burden.

The player himself has set a target of 20 goals in this campaign. but United have only managed three shots on target in two games.

Given Rooney's lack of impact against Villa, Van Gaal may well have to revise his thinking before the transfer window closes.

Aston Villa's lack of goals still a worry

Villa sold striker Christian Benteke to Liverpool for £32.5m this summer and they looked poorer for the striker's absence against United.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Villa a work in progress - Sherwood

Time well tell if two of the players Villa manager Tim Sherwood signed to replace him - Jordan Ayew and Rudy Gestede - can fill the powerful Belgium international's boots in attack.

"The boys gave everything for the cause but we didn't carry enough attacking threat," Sherwood said.

"The attacking force wasn't there. It may be down to personnel missing who might give us a little cutting edge."

Januzaj forces his way into Van Gaal's plans

Van Gaal sprung something of a surprise with his selection of Januzaj - who was not even in the match day squad for his side's 1-0 win over Tottenham in their opening game of the season - ahead of Ashley Young.

The youngster has been widely tipped to leave Old Trafford on loan, with Sunderland and Everton among those linked with season-long deals.

Although he looked a little short of fitness it was a good performance as the central playmaker in an attacking triumvirate behind Rooney.

"You have to wait until we have closed the transfer period," Van Gaal said of Januzaj's future.

"I am pleased with the goal because it was a wonderful goal but you have to do more than scoring a goal."

Men of the match

Chris Smalling, Gabby Agbonlahor
Chris Smalling put in a commanding performance as he helped United secure back-to-back clean sheets

Much has been made of Manchester United's need to sign a new centre-back but having restricted Aston Villa to just one shot on target in this encounter the Red Devils look tight at the back.

Daley Blind and Chris Smalling have formed a solid pairing at the heart of the United defence and both players impressed as they snuffed out whatever threat Villa posed in the final third of the pitch.

England international Smalling's commanding presence in the air and his confident reading of the game meant he probably shaded it ahead of Blind.

Reaction

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: "I think we played better than last week. For an away match I am very happy. We kept the ball better in the first 20 minutes, we scored a fantastic goal. After that we were a little bit nervous but in the second half we played very controlled football and could have scored more than one."

Ashley Young tweet

Aston Villa captain Micah Richards: "If you look at our team from the beginning of last season to this season there are some really exciting players - good ball players in midfield with power and pace all over. It is exciting times, not the result we wanted but we move on."

The stats you need to know

  • Januzaj's goal ended his drought of 1,169 minutes in the Premier League. It was his first since April 2014 against Newcastle.
  • Rooney has not scored an away goal in the Premier League since November 2014.
  • Mata has two assists in his last 20 Premier League appearances - both have come against Aston Villa.
  • Villa have now won just one of their past 40 Premier League games against Manchester United.

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 7Bacuna
  • 4Richards
  • 6Clark
  • 23Amavi
  • 17VeretoutSubstituted forSánchezat 78'minutes
  • 15Westwood
  • 8GueyeBooked at 90mins
  • 19J AyewBooked at 71mins
  • 11Agbonlahor
  • 9SinclairSubstituted forGestedeat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Baker
  • 18Richardson
  • 21Hutton
  • 24Sánchez
  • 27Kozák
  • 31Bunn
  • 39Gestede

Man Utd

  • 20Romero
  • 36DarmianBooked at 84mins
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 23Shaw
  • 16CarrickSubstituted forSchweinsteigerat 60'minutes
  • 28Schneiderlin
  • 8Mata
  • 11JanuzajSubstituted forHerreraat 60'minutesBooked at 74mins
  • 7DepaySubstituted forYoungat 82'minutes
  • 10Rooney

Substitutes

  • 14Hernández
  • 18Young
  • 21Herrera
  • 25A Valencia
  • 31Schweinsteiger
  • 33McNair
  • 50Johnstone
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
42,200

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home5
Away9
Shots on Target
Home1
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home14
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Manchester United 1.

Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa).

Booking

Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa).

Offside, Manchester United. Juan Mata tries a through ball, but Wayne Rooney is caught offside.

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

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

Offside, Manchester United. Morgan Schneiderlin tries a through ball, but Wayne Rooney is caught offside.

Booking

Matteo Darmian (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Matteo Darmian (Manchester United).

Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Ashley Young replaces Memphis Depay.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Daley Blind.

Foul by Memphis Depay (Manchester United).

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Carlos Sánchez replaces Jordan Veretout.

Attempt saved. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

Foul by Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

Booking

Ander Herrera (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).

Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Juan Mata with a through ball.

Ander Herrera (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa).

Booking

Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa) has gone down, but that's a dive.

Attempt missed. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Luke Shaw (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa).

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

Attempt blocked. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked. Assisted by Juan Mata.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

Luke Shaw (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

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

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man Utd22002026
2Man City11003033
3Leicester11004223
4Crystal Palace11003123
5West Ham11002023
6Liverpool11001013
7Aston Villa21011103
8Chelsea10102201
9Everton10102201
10Newcastle10102201
11Southampton10102201
12Swansea10102201
13Watford10102201
14Bournemouth100101-10
15Stoke100101-10
16Tottenham100101-10
17Sunderland100124-20
18Norwich100113-20
19Arsenal100102-20
20West Brom100103-30
View full Premier League table

Top Stories