Premier League
Man Utd2Aston Villa2

Man Utd 2-2 Aston Villa: Red Devils held by resolute Villans

Tyrone Mings
Tyrone Mings' first Premier League goal came in his 31st appearance in the competition

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United's league position is not a concern after a home draw with Aston Villa left them ninth after 14 games.

Tyrone Mings' first Premier League goal levelled the scores shortly after Victor Lindelof had given United a 64th-minute lead, though, the England defender did have to wait to see if it would be ruled out by the assistant video referee (VAR).

But the assistant referee kept his flag down and VAR proved he was correct to do so as Villa avoided defeat at Old Trafford for the first time since 2009.

Villa skipper Jack Grealish gave his side a deserved lead with a magnificent curling shot after 11 minutes only for United to equalise against the run of play just before the interval when a Marcus Rashford header hit the inside of a post before bouncing in off the back of former United keeper Tom Heaton.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men pushed forward looking for a late winner but Anthony Martial failed to convert their best chance as United had to settle for a second successive draw against a promoted team.

United have now taken just 18 points from their opening 14 league games. That means Solskjaer must guide them to wins in their next three games if they are to surpass the 26 points Jose Mourinho amassed when he was sacked after 17 games in 2018-19.

"I wouldn't have sat here and talked about us being fifth if we had got that one goal extra, so the league table at this point is not the biggest concern because it is so tight," Solskjaer said.

"I just need to make sure that we get performances and get three or four performances after each other - and results.

"So far we have had the lead in so many games and we haven't been able to win those games, six or seven times we've been 1-0 up, or 2-1, or 3-2 like last week.

"We should be better at seeing those games into wins."

No improvement from United

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Manchester United 2-2 Aston Villa: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his team have to be better

Seven days ago, Solskjaer said he could have replaced all 10 outfield players after an especially dismal first half at Sheffield United.

The general feeling in the media room - from journalists, former players and staff alike - was that their performance before the break here had been no better.

There was no obvious benefit gained from Solskjaer's decision to excuse his entire starting line-up, plus coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, from the draining midweek Europa League trip to Astana.

United's equaliser came against the run of play and the lack of invention in midfield contrasted sharply with the threat posed by Grealish.

There were sporadic boos for the home side at the final whistle but in a period where Tottenham and Arsenal have both sacked their managers, United are behind both in the table, putting Solskjaer under scrutiny, even if the United hierarchy remain supportive of the Norwegian.

Grealish a throwback

With his socks rolled down and his shorts pulled up, Grealish looks like a throwback to a different era.

He plays a bit like it too. Pulling wide to the left of a three-man support line to lone striker Wesley, the Aston Villa skipper seems a peripheral figure for much of the time.

But somehow, when Villa spark into life, he is central to it. United's midfield were petrified every time Grealish ran at them. Most of the time, their only way of stopping the danger was to foul him.

For the goal, Grealish chased down an over-hit Anwar el Ghazi cross before fronting up Andreas Pereira on the edge of the penalty area, beating him with a deft feint to the right and finally sending his curling shot over David de Gea and into the roof of the United keeper's net.

It was magnificent, way beyond anything produced by the hosts during another tepid 45 minutes.

Gareth Southgate was not at Old Trafford to witness it but it was another of those moments that makes you wonder how Grealish is still waiting for a senior England cap.

Had the 24-year-old turned home Trezeguet's deflected shot shortly before Lindelof's header, it would have been the first time he had ever scored twice in a game.

'Multi-year squad evolution analysis'

With his best two midfielders, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, both missing through injury, Solskjaer again had to rely on Andreas Pereira and Fred in his midfield.

Both have been heavily criticised this season as part of an underperforming squad containing players some feel are simply not good enough who have, nevertheless, been awarded new contracts in recent times.

Pereira signed a four-year deal in the summer. Phil Jones, the one man dropped from last week's largely dismal draw at Sheffield United, was given a new four-year deal in February.

Both decisions seem odd. Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward explained the principle in an interview with fanzine 'United We Stand'.

"It's a multi-year squad evolution analysis," he said.

"It's hard enough to get three players done in a transfer window. To get six or seven done is extremely difficult if you are getting proper talent.

"If you choose to churn every player because they are not good enough and you're not extending contracts, you are putting yourself at risk of execution. Sometimes you have to take a broader view."

Man of the match - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Jack Grealish
Aston Villa's skipper has been directly involved in seven goals in the Premier League this season (three goals and four assists) - no English midfielder has been involved in more

'We huffed and puffed' - what they said

Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings: "It's a tough point and a well-deserved point. We made a few mistakes in the build-up to their goals, and they had a few chances, so we are satisfied with a point.

"I thought I was onside for my goal, but I didn't want to celebrate just in case. I got back into position."

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire: "As a team we are improving but we want to improve a lot more. To not win games at home is disappointing. We huffed and puffed but we need to do better and Wednesday [home to Spurs] gives us a great opportunity to put that right.

"We were poor after their first goal. It knocked us and we were edgy and nervous. To concede straight away after going in front its disappointing."

United fail to keep clean sheet again - the stats

  • Manchester United have won just 18 points in the Premier League this season; their fewest after 14 games of a top-flight campaign since 1988-89 (18), when they went on to finish 11th in the table.
  • Aston Villa avoided defeat against 'big six' opposition for the first time since November 2015 in the Premier League (0-0 v Man City) - they had lost each of their previous 11 such games coming into today.
  • Since keeping three consecutive Premier League clean sheets in February, United have only kept two in their last 25 games in the competition (36 goals conceded).
  • Excluding penalties, Aston Villa have conceded more goals from set-pieces than any other team in the Premier League this season (nine).
  • There were just 112 seconds between Manchester United taking the lead through Victor Lindelof (63:21) and Tyrone Mings levelling for Villa at 2-2 (65:13).
  • Victor Lindelof's goal was just his second in 84 appearances for United in all competitions. They've both been scored at Old Trafford past goalkeeper Tom Heaton - the other coming when he was in goal for Burnley in January.
  • Villa named an unchanged starting XI for the fourth time in the Premier League this season - as many as they did in their 49 games in the Championship in 2018-19 (including play-offs).

What's next?

Manchester United are next in action when former manager Jose Mourinho takes his Tottenham side to Old Trafford on Wednesday (19:30 GMT). On the same night, Villa visit Chelsea (also 19:30).

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 5MaguireBooked at 7mins
  • 53WilliamsBooked at 62minsSubstituted forShawat 79'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 15Pereira
  • 17FredBooked at 24mins
  • 21James
  • 8MataSubstituted forLingardat 74'minutes
  • 10Rashford
  • 9MartialSubstituted forGreenwoodat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Grant
  • 14Lingard
  • 18Young
  • 23Shaw
  • 26Greenwood
  • 37Garner
  • 38Tuanzebe

Aston Villa

  • 1Heaton
  • 24GuilbertBooked at 45mins
  • 15Konsa
  • 40Mings
  • 18Targett
  • 7McGinn
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 14HourihaneSubstituted forLansburyat 81'minutes
  • 21El GhaziSubstituted forTrézéguetat 18'minutes
  • 9Wesley
  • 10Grealish

Substitutes

  • 8Lansbury
  • 11Nakamba
  • 17Trézéguet
  • 22Engels
  • 25Nyland
  • 26Kodjia
  • 27El Mohamady
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
73,381

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home16
Away9
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home9
Away9
Fouls
Home16
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 2, Aston Villa 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Aston Villa 2.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Henri Lansbury (Aston Villa).

Attempt missed. Luke Shaw (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Fred with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Frederic Guilbert.

Harry Maguire (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Wesley (Aston Villa).

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Frederic Guilbert.

Attempt missed. Henri Lansbury (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by John McGinn following a corner.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

Booking

Luke Shaw (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Frederic Guilbert.

Foul by Harry Maguire (Manchester United).

Ezri Konsa Ngoyo (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Tom Heaton.

Attempt saved. Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marcus Rashford with a through ball.

Foul by Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United).

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Fred (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Daniel James.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Mason Greenwood replaces Anthony Martial because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Henri Lansbury replaces Conor Hourihane.

Foul by Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Luke Shaw replaces Brandon Williams.

Attempt missed. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) left footed shot from very close range is just a bit too high.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Attempt blocked. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel James.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Jesse Lingard replaces Juan Mata.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Tyrone Mings.

Attempt missed. Andreas Pereira (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester United 2, Aston Villa 2. Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matt Targett with a through ball following a corner.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Brandon Williams.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester United 2, Aston Villa 1. Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United) header from the left side of the six yard box to the top right corner following a corner.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Tom Heaton.

Attempt saved. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Fred.

Attempt missed. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) left footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Trézéguet (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by John McGinn.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool14131032122040
2Leicester1410223392432
3Man City1492339162329
4Chelsea148242820826
5Tottenham145542421320
6Wolves144821917220
7Sheff Utd144731713419
8Arsenal144732021-119
9Man Utd144642117418
10Burnley145362020018
11Crystal Palace145361318-518
12Bournemouth144461820-216
13West Ham144461723-616
14Newcastle144461322-916
15Aston Villa144372122-115
16Brighton144371621-515
17Everton144281422-814
18Southampton143381532-1712
19Norwich143291530-1511
20Watford14158928-198
View full Premier League table

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