A spirited defeat, an unlucky loss, a terrific effort. Usually these are the words that many managers in the past have used to cover up a poor defeat for their team’s, but in the case of what occurred at Villa Park on Saturday evening, they are very fitting.
Villa were superb in the first half, limiting their opponents to only one shot at goal, and snatching a goal themselves through the energetic Andreas Weimann with a terrific first time effort flying past Manchester United ‘keeper David De Gea. The goal had been created by Christian Benteke, who had out-muscled the returning Chris Smalling before picking out Weimann with a pin point pass across the box.
They started the second half just the way they had ended the first, closing down their opponents at every point, making it difficult for the visitors to play through them. Villa deservedly went 2-0 up with another well taken goal from Weimann, his movement too good for the Manchester United defence as Villa looked solid in attack and defence.
It was Javier Hernandez who would ultimately be the star of the show, as he grabbed himself a double and had another shot take a deflection off Villa captain Ron Vlaar to complete a Manchester United comeback. “Chicharito” had replaced Ashley Young at half time, who looked a shadow of his former self as he was making his return to Villa Park. Villa have seen plenty of comebacks from Manchester United over the years, and credit must go to Sir Alex Ferguson once more for a terrific substitution which changed the shape of the match.
Though there are plenty of positives that the Aston Villa players and fans can take from the terrific game on Saturday evening, the manner of the loss after being 2-0 ahead may just be the lasting memory in some of the players thoughts. It was a game that Villa were never expected to win, and Man Utd were always heavy favourites, so you can say the result was exactly what had been predicted. The result is just part of this story though, as Paul Lambert can take great heart in a performance that pushed Manchester United right until the final whistle.
With champions Manchester City at the Etihad next for Villa, the task of getting three points does not get any easier. Despite the loss and the position the club still find themselves in, they can now travel to the Etihad knowing that they can give any team in this league a tough game, and hope for a repeat of the result they achieved against Manchester City in the League Cup earlier this season.
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