Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa: Fernandes ends goal drought to all but secure top-four finish
Manchester United beat Aston Villa on Sunday to strengthen their hold on fourth, with Bruno Fernandes getting the decisive goal.FotMob - 5 months ago
Bruno Fernandes scored his first Premier League goal in nearly three months as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday to take another big step towards securing a top-four finish.
United threw away a two-goal lead in the midweek draw with Spurs that upset their momentum a little, but returned to winning ways against a Villa side who were threatening to enter top-four contention.
One of the Premier League's form teams since Unai Emery's October appointment, Villa went close to an opener first, though United were good value for the lead when Fernandes punished questionable goalkeeping from Emiliano Martinez.
Despite putting Villa under intense pressure for much of the second half, additional goals were not forthcoming for United, who were ultimately indebted to Victor Lindelof's late goal-line clearance as they held on.
United were also fortunate not to concede in the 19th minute when Diogo Dalot nudged Emiliano Buendia's pass into Alex Moreno's path, the Spaniard's powerful drive crucially blocked by David de Gea.
They nearly capitalised on the let-off nine minutes later, Jadon Sancho teeing up Casemiro to hit the crossbar from 16 yards.
But the breakthrough did arrive just before half-time, Fernandes squeezing in from a tight angle when Martinez could only parry Marcus Rashford's initial effort.
While United continued to dominate after half-time, their final pass was generally dreadful, with Sancho and Christian Eriksen making particularly poor decisions at crucial moments in the attacking third.
Villa almost took full advantage, but Lindelof managed to head Douglas Luiz's shot clear from under the bar, with United surviving late pressure.