Premier League
Man UtdManchester United1Aston VillaAston Villa0

Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa

By Patrick JenningsBBC Sport
Marcus Rashford scores for Manchester United against Aston Villa
Marcus Rashford scored his fourth league goal of the season

Aston Villa have been relegated to English football's second tier for the first time since 1987 after defeat at Manchester United.

Marcus Rashford scored the only goal, sweeping Antonio Valencia's cut-back past goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Villa were second best for much of the game, although Rudy Gestede's volley did hit a post late on.

It was a ninth straight loss for the visitors and left them 15 points from safety with only four matches left.

Relive the action from Old Trafford

Reaction from Saturday's other Premier League games

Aston Villa: How club went from Europe to relegation

Does 'anarchy' beckon for Villa?

European Cup winners in 1982, Aston Villa have a proud history but are facing a turbulent immediate future.

Caretaker manager Eric Black has spoken of the danger of the club falling into "anarchy" at the end of a miserable campaign played out against the backdrop of fan protests against Randy Lerner's ownership.

Last time Villa were relegated to the old second division they immediately returned under Graham Taylor and finished second in the top flight the following season.

At Old Trafford they were outplayed for the majority of the game until the introduction of Gestede gave the travelling supporters hope of salvaging something from the day they finally went down.

It was not to be though - and not many of those 1,500 or so supporters will expect their team to be competing in the Champions League by 2018.

Rooney's return

Victory for United means they keep up the pressure on Manchester City in fourth place.

Wayne Rooney's touch map
Rooney was at times forced to drop and pick up the ball in front of his centre-backs as Villa defended deeply. Of his performance Van Gaal said: "He played a very good first half, switched the play a lot of times. In the second half he loses balls because he is tired and the rhythm is still high. When you are two months out it is difficult."

This was an important win in the race for a Champions League spot, and important too for the return of forward Wayne Rooney, who last played in the Premier League on 13 February.

The England captain was not at his best - one heavy touch on the edge of the box saw a golden chance slip away - but he played his part in a solid all-round performance from Louis van Gaal's team.

The 18-year-old Rashford - who now has seven goals in 12 United appearances - should have added to his brilliantly taken first but prodded wide under pressure in a bright start to the second half, before Juan Mata could only fire straight at Guzan from a short corner.

Gestede almost drew Villa level when striking the post from a corner with just over five minutes to play, but United winger Memphis Depay was also denied by the post soon after - and United were deserved winners.

What they said

Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black: "It's a mood of disappointment. What I will say is today I thought [the Villa players] were outstanding - energy levels, desire to stick to the plan.

Man Utd 1-0 Aston Villa: Players are devastated - Eric Black

"But for some misfortune, I thought we could have got a draw. I know there has been criticism - some of it deserved - but today they showed there was some pride for the shirt.

"There are players in there capable of playing in the Championship. People in certain places will make sure that Villa will come back, I'm confident of that. That process has to start now."

Man Utd didn't play well - Van Gaal

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: "We have three points and make some distance from Southampton and West Ham, so the three points are very important. I'm not too happy with the performance. We have to finish the games a lot earlier and today we didn't do that.

"I have said to the boys before the match that Chelsea can beat Manchester City. City have the problem we had in that they have played this week and Chelsea didn't so they are more prepared. They can beat them I hope."

Man of the match - Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Marcus Rashford
Rashford was full of movement throughout and showed a touch of real class for his sweetly taken finish. The home fans gave him a brilliant send-off when Anthony Martial came on to replace him.

The stats you need to know

  • Aston Villa's relegation is the earliest from the Premier League since Portsmouth were relegated with five games to go in 2009-10.
  • Villa have won none of their past 13 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (W0 D3 L10).
  • In total United have lost just once in their past 41 Premier League matches against Villa (W30 D10 L1).
  • The Red Devils have kept 11 clean sheets in their past 16 Premier League home matches.
  • Aston Villa have won none of their past 16 Premier League away games (D3 L13).

What's next?

Manchester United play at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, while Aston Villa's next match is on Saturday when they welcome Southampton to Villa Park.

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 5Rojo
  • 28Schneiderlin
  • 8MataSubstituted forFosu-Mensahat 90'minutes
  • 27Fellaini
  • 10RooneySubstituted forLingardat 67'minutes
  • 7Depay
  • 39RashfordSubstituted forMartialat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Martial
  • 18Young
  • 20Romero
  • 33McNair
  • 35Lingard
  • 36Darmian
  • 51Fosu-Mensah

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 21Hutton
  • 16Lescott
  • 6Clark
  • 43Cissokho
  • 7Bacuna
  • 15Westwood
  • 9Sinclair
  • 8Gueye
  • 18RichardsonBooked at 65minsSubstituted forGestedeat 82'minutes
  • 19J Ayew

Substitutes

  • 4Richards
  • 24C Sánchez
  • 25Gil
  • 31Bunn
  • 38Lyden
  • 39Gestede
  • 40Grealish
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
75,411

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home66%
Away34%
Shots
Home13
Away7
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home14
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 1, Aston Villa 0.

  2. Full Time

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

  3. Post update

    Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa).

  5. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Jesse Lingard tries a through ball, but Anthony Martial is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Brad Guzan.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Anthony Martial with a through ball.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Alan Hutton with a cross.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Timothy Fosu-Mensah replaces Juan Mata.

  10. Post update

    Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa).

  12. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Juan Mata tries a through ball, but Anthony Martial is caught offside.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Marcos Rojo (Manchester United).

  14. Post update

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

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Morgan Schneiderlin.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Jesse Lingard.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Rudy Gestede replaces Kieran Richardson.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester33219357312672
2Tottenham331811460253565
3Man City33186961332860
4Arsenal32178755332259
5Man Utd33168940301056
6West Ham321313652401252
7Southampton341491145351051
8Liverpool3113995042848
9Stoke33138123743-647
10Chelsea331111114945444
11Everton33914105344941
12Watford33118143237-541
13Bournemouth33118144055-1541
14West Brom331010133140-940
15Swansea341010143445-1140
16Crystal Palace33108153542-738
17Norwich3487193560-2531
18Sunderland3379173957-1830
19Newcastle3377193561-2628
20Aston Villa3437242365-4216
View full Premier League table

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