LIVE – Updated at 16:13
United got back to winning ways in the Premier League with this 1-0 win over Villa on Sunday afternoon, making it 15 games unbeaten at home in the league, and taking a major step towards Champions League qualification with all three points. Bruno Fernandes arrowed in the decisive goal in the first half after Emi Martinez palmed away Marcus Rashford’s shot.
Erik ten Hag’s side were made to work hard for the victory but managed to end Villa’s 10-match unbeaten run under Unai Emery. It might have been more comfortable had Casemiro found the net instead of the crossbar in the first half, with Rashford also squandering a number of good chances. Villa threatened in the second half, forcing a goalline clearance from Victor Lindelof, but Emery will be disappointed they didn’t creat more.
See how Man United vs Aston Villa unfolded at Old Trafford below, with our reporter Dominic Booth.
Man United vs Aston Villa highlights
- FULL TIME: Crucial win for United
- GOAL! Fernandes slides in opener
- KICK OFF!
Manchester United FC 1 – 0 Aston Villa FC
16:13 , Dominic Booth
Victor Lindelof was the pick of the bunch in our player ratings today, which you can find here.
Luke Shaw, Casemiro, Tyrell Malacia and Bruno Fernandes all very good as well for United.
16:05 , Dominic Booth
Stay tuned for the reaction to that victory. It’s a big three points in the top four race, with United and Newcastle surely making those places their own now.
15:55 , Dominic Booth
Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa. A huge result for United at Old Trafford.
15:52 , Dominic Booth
92 min: Antony shoots straight at Martinez after a United foray forward. A bit of a scuffle involving Shaw and Villa substitute Duran.
The minutes tick away.
15:50 , Dominic Booth
90 min: Now four added minutes!
87 min: Fred went into the book there, I think for kicking the ball away. Shows how desperate United are for the clock to tick down.
They get a lift from the crowd, with Villa upping the ante late on.
15:46 , Dominic Booth
86 min: Sabitzer and Rashford have gone off… Ten Hag is putting the shutters down now.
15:45 , Dominic Booth
85 min: Some late pressure from Villa but we’ll have a delay now as Shaw goes down with a possible knock to the head.
United might have been away on the counter there, actually, had play not been paused. Maguire and Martial are coming on.
15:43 , Dominic Booth
83 min: McGinn versus Fred is turning into a good battle in midfield, both are showing great determination on the ball.
Villa have a good free-kick position here.
15:41 , Dominic Booth
81 min: Off the line by Lindelof! Wow, United are living dangerously now. De Gea with a good save as well, as Traore looked to be in there.
15:38 , Dominic Booth
79 min: Rashford has been a livewire all afternoon but his touch has occasionally let him down, and that’s the case again there, amid groans from the crowd.
How welcome a second goal would be around this place. Fernandes’ cross is touched away by Martinez after Fred’s pass.
Injured centre-backs watch on
15:37 , Dominic Booth
77 mins: The defence has done okay in their absence, to be fair.
15:35 , Dominic Booth
75 min: It’s Eriksen and Sancho who are replaced by Fred and Antony.
15:34 , Dominic Booth
74 min: Rashford wanted the spot-kick. And United fans may well question why that’s not being given. VAR don’t even seem interested, but it was clumsy on the United No.10.
15:33 , Dominic Booth
73 min: Oh wow, a snapshot from Casemiro whistles just wide of the post! United had muted appeals for a penalty just before it, nothing given yet…
15:31 , Dominic Booth
72 min: How long before Ten Hag makes a sub? He’s got the likes of Antony, Martial and Fred at his disposal – and it looks like the two Brazilians are coming on soon.
15:30 , Dominic Booth
71 min: Rashford has a pop from long range, which has the sting taken off it by a deflection.
A bit better from United in the last few minutes, but this game is by no means done yet – far from it.
15:28 , Dominic Booth
69 min: Villa haven’t troubled De Gea in this game, but they’ve certainly not been shy of shooting in this second half, McGinn the latest to have one that went well wide.
15:26 , Dominic Booth
66 min: De Gea uses his head to clear the ball away. Not often you see that from the Spaniard!
15:25 , Dominic Booth
65 min: Ten Hag hasn’t budged from the touchline, despite the Mancunian rain.
That’s not his greatest concern right now – more the fact United cannot seem to conjure up a second goal.
15:24 , Dominic Booth
64 min: A fast and flowing United counter-attack offers a lot of promise, with Sancho steaming forward and options all around him.
United should have made more from that. Eriksen’s ball doesn’t quite find Rashford.
Villa are bringing on Chambers and Traoré for Ashley Young and Dendoncker.
15:21 , Dominic Booth
62 min: Malacia has made tackle after tackle for United. So good from him today.
15:20 , Dominic Booth
60 min: There’s a bit of tetchiness from the United fans in the ground. They know a 1-0 lead isn’t enough, as Villa keep edging themselves back into the game.
15:17 , Dominic Booth
58 min: Eriksen has been imperious this afternoon, finding some lovely pockets of space and keeping United ticking with his passing.
Rashford is sent through and once again Martinez smothers him and wins the ball. Another half-opening.
15:15 , Dominic Booth
55 min: Rashford is frustrated with himself after failing to collect Eriksen’s ball. If he’d controlled that, the England forward would’ve been in a superb position to continue his excellent Old Trafford scoring record this season.
(Newcastle are now level with Southampton, by the way, it’s 1-1)
15:13 , Dominic Booth
53 min: Eriksen’s deep free-kick is aimed towards Lindelof at the back post but the Swede can’t do much with that one, left foot and a tight angle anyway. Wide.
15:12 , Dominic Booth
52 min: It’s a really soggy day in Manchester today, the surface nice and slick which is making for a fast game.
United haven’t got going since the restart, their passing game has been non-existent.
15:10 , Dominic Booth
50 min: The nervy start to United’s second half continues, with Malacia conceding a soft free kick, giving McGinn the chance to whip in a delivery.
Dealt with by Luke Shaw.
15:08 , Dominic Booth
48 min: A bit more intensity from Villa now, putting more pressure on the red shirts when they have the ball.
United have had issues defending leads recently, can Emery’s men exploit that?
15:06 , Dominic Booth
46 min: Lindelof has to be alert early in the second half, with Ashley Young strolling forward and putting a decent cross in. United sleeping a bit, there.
15:05 , Dominic Booth
We’re back under way!
No changes from either side at the interval.
14:54 , Dominic Booth
14:52 , Dominic Booth
Overall, United will be happy with their lead – though they’ll think they should have scored more. Villa haven’t been particularly threatening this afternoon, hardly resembling a side who’ve won eight of their past 10 matches. Perhaps an unchanged XI was unwise from Emery given the hectic fixture schedule.
HALF TIME: Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa
14:48 , Dominic Booth
The whistle goes for half time and United have been good value for their 1-0 lead.
Fernandes likes playing Villa
14:46 , Dominic Booth
45 mins: He’s actually been a bit quieter than normal, but he’s got his customary goal versus Villa. We’re heading into first half stoppage time.
14:45 , Dominic Booth
43 min: United are hunting for a second before half-time, with Sancho causing more problems on the left.
Newcastle are a goal down against Southampton, by the way.
14:43 , Dominic Booth
41 min: For housekeeping reasons, important to note there was a VAR check for offside on that Fernandes goal.
But it was deserved for United, who’ve been the better team so far.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa | Fernandes ‘39
14:39 , Dominic Booth
Fernandes makes it 1-0 to United!
Rashford’s dart in behind leaves Villa exposed and his shot is parried by Martinez – but only as far as Fernandes who finds the net from a tight angle on the rebound.
14:38 , Dominic Booth
37 min: Villa have a bit more belief about them here. Watkins goes for the spectacular but doesn’t trouble De Gea’s goal at all.
14:37 , Dominic Booth
36 min: Great tackle from Malacia as McGinn got through into a bit of space. Good play from Villa but United respond defensively, Casemiro makes a second challenge.
14:35 , Dominic Booth
34 min: United fans howl for a handball there… surely not, the ball struck Ashley Young maybe on the arm, but referee Jarred Gillet isn’t too interested. VAR isn’t either.
14:33 , Dominic Booth
32 min: Villa fans trying to wind up their United counterparts with chants of ‘there’s only one Joel Glazer’. That’s not gone down well.
Mings continues to defend well for the visitors, shutting out Fernandes that time.
14:31 , Dominic Booth
30 min: Buendia slips, then Luiz gives it away… sums it up from a Villa perspective so far really. They cannot quite get their counter-attack clicking into gear.
14:28 , Dominic Booth
27 min: Casemiro has been mightily impressive for United so far. He keeps winning second balls, keeping Villa penned back.
And the Brazilian smacks one off the crossbar! Great effort. So so close.
14:27 , Dominic Booth
26 min: It’s gone a bit scrappy and stop-start in the past few minutes. Villa defending stoutly, while trying to find Watkins with the odd long ball.
14:25 , Dominic Booth
24 min: Sancho goes down in the box and the Old Trafford crowd scream penalty. Just a 50-50 that one, nothing malicious from former United man Ashley Young with that challenge.
14:22 , Dominic Booth
22 min: On so many occasions already in this game, Emi Martinez has had to be fast off his line, with Rashford continuing to dart in behind the Villa back four.
Emery doesn’t appear overly impressed with this start from his men.
14:20 , Dominic Booth
20 min: Watkins wants a penalty after he’s felled by Dalot as the ball falls through to Moreno at the back post, whose shot is parried by De Gea.
Don’t think VAR will be giving that one. Nope. Villa having their best spell, though.
14:18 , Dominic Booth
19 min: Many United fans planned to boycott this game until the 18th minute today, and a fair few are filing in now amid some anti-Glazer chants.
Casemiro with a crunching challenge on Jacob Ramsey.
14:16 , Dominic Booth
16 min: Villa continue playing a very dangerous game.
14:14 , Dominic Booth
14 min: Again Martinez is dashing off his line to try and deal with Rashford.
United keep it alive and Mings gets himself in the way of Sabitzer’s shot. Villa get a goal-kick in the end.
14:14 , Dominic Booth
13 min: United earn a corner after Martinez comes out to snuff out Rashford’s attempt.
It’s whipped in towards the back post, half-cleared, but United can’t work an opportunity and resign themselves to keeping the ball with De Gea.
14:12 , Dominic Booth
11 min: The pressure from United is becoming a little more sustained, exploiting Villa’s fairly high line.
The through-balls have either been wayward, though, or the offside flag has been raised.
14:10 , Dominic Booth
9 min: Actually hard to believe that Rashford missed that chance when you look at the reply. It was very very marginal for offside, anyway.
John McGinn took a blow during that incident, think he collided with the advertising hoardings.
14:09 , Dominic Booth
7 min: Big chance for Rashford – ah, but the flag belatedly goes up!
Great stuff from Casemiro to pounce on a loose ball and Sabitzer feeds Rashford, who fired wide anyway.
14:06 , Dominic Booth
5 min: Sancho is seeing plenty of the ball down the United left, but the final ball from his teammates has been lacking so far.
A couple of offsides have frustrated the Old Trafford crowd.
14:04 , Dominic Booth
3 min: A decent spell of possession for Villa at the moment, with United looking to go fairly direct whenever they get it.
14:02 , Dominic Booth
2 min: Lots of anti-Glazer chants around Old Trafford from the United fans as we’re off to a frenetic start.
14:00 , Dominic Booth
We’re under way.
13:55 , Dominic Booth
The players are coming out of the tunnel and we’re raring to go at a fiery Old Trafford this afternoon.
13:41 , Dominic Booth
Ten Hag has spoken about his team selection this afternoon
13:32 , Dominic Booth
Half an hour until kick off now, and the players have emerged from the dressing rooms, now going through their usual warm-ups.
Thoughts on the United XI
13:11 , Dominic Booth
Erik ten Hag has made two changes from the XI that started at Tottenham on Thursday night, with Tyrell Malacia and Marcel Sabitzer replacing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Antony, who are both benched. Harry Maguire is fit enough to be a sub.
Aston Villa XI
13:03 , Dominic Booth
Villa XI: Martinez; A.Young, Konsa, Mings, Moreno; McGinn, Dendoncker, Luiz; Ramsey, Buendia, Watkins.
Subs: Olsen, Carlos, Traore, Chambers, Duran, Digne, Revan, O’Reilly, K.Young.
Manchester United XI
13:01 , Dominic Booth
United XI: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Shaw, Malacia, Casemiro, Eriksen, Sabitzer, Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford.
Subs: Butland, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, Williams, Fred, Pellistri, Antony, Martial, Weghorst.
‘I don’t care who buys United’
12:48 , Dominic Booth
Ahead of team news being revealed at 1pm (UK time), former United and Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke has been speaking on behalf of LegalSportsbooks.com about the impending takeover at Old Trafford and the prospective new owners.
“I don’t know the individuals enough to make such a statement of who I would prefer to own the club. Mr Ratcliffe is a local guy and Manchester United fan, but we’ve heard all of this through the media, we don’t know the ins and outs of who to favour.
For me, it’s about who buys the club with the interest of the club, makes the fans happy and gets them back to competing against the best in the world again. Why would I want to get involved in the politics of it? As a player, all you want is an investment into the team and training facilities, that’s all you should care about. You want to play with the best players and compete for the number one spot in England and Europe.”
12:42 , Dominic Booth
A view of Old Trafford from the Villa social media guys. Slate grey skies here, as you might imagine for Manchester in April.
12:33 , Dominic Booth
A quick look at today’s match odds and the bookmakers’ top four favourites ahead of this one, according to Genting Casino:
Manchester United vs Aston Villa
- Man United – 4/6
- Draw – 3/1
- Aston VIlla – 15/4
To Finish in Top 4
- Newcastle – 1/14
- Man United – 1/9
- Liverpool – 5/1
- Brighton – 12/1
- Tottenham – 25/1
- Aston Villa – 50/1
Takeover tensions form backdrop at Old Trafford
12:23 , Dominic Booth
Takeover tensions and unrest amid supporters very much form the backdrop to this game at Old Trafford, with fans holding another protest march in an effort to force through a sale. There’s a divide among fans when it comes to who the ideal new owners should be, with some preferring the idea of Sheikh Jassim’s 100 per cent takeover and others wanting boyhood United fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe as the next owner.
For Ten Hag and the players it may serve as a distraction. They’ve got a job to do on the pitch. Fans can just hope the takeover happens before the summer to help the Dutchman develop this team.
Pre-match protest march
12:07 , Dominic Booth
The Manchester United fans are making their feelings clear about the sale of the club and the Glazers’ ownership.
11:56 , Dominic Booth
The recent history between these two clubs means goals are almost guaranteed this afternoon. Villa won the home league game in November 3-1, United triumphed in the Carabao Cup 4-2 after coming from behind and last season they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Villa Park.
United haven’t actually beaten Villa in the Premier League since the 2020/21 campaign and they might find it tough again today. Our prediction is for another entertaining score draw and an enjoyable 90 minutes for the neutrals.
Villa early team news
11:46 , Dominic Booth
There’s little reason for Unai Emery to make any changes to his Aston Villa lineup today, given their sensational run of form lately.
The Villa boss revealed in the week that Matty Cash, Philippe Coutinho, Leon Bailey and Boubacar Kamara are all ‘close’ to returning, but it’s unlikely that any of the quartet will be risked in the starting XI.
We’ll get official team news at 1pm BST.
Man United early team news
11:44 , Dominic Booth
There is a chance that Harry Maguire could return to the United starting XI this afternoon – although there’s no guarantee he will be picked by Erik ten Hag, despite returning to fitness.
Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof have been partnered in central defence of late for United, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez sidelined.
In other United injury news, Alejandro Garnacho is closing in on a return to fitness, although Ten Hag is likely to stick with the front three of Antony, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford that started against Spurs.
No TV coverage in the UK
11:34 , Dominic Booth
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to watch this one on television if you’re in the UK, with broadcasters Sky Sports choosing to screen Manchester City’s game against Fulham instead. There will be highlights on BBC’s Match Of The Day 2 tonight, though,
Here’s more on why the game isn’t on TV and how you can follow it.
Welcome to Man United vs Aston Villa LIVE coverage!
11:28 , George Flood
Welcome to Old Trafford where Manchester United face another stern test of their top-four credentials as they face one of the Premier League’s most in-form sides, in Aston Villa.
Unai Emery’s team are unbeaten in 10 matches – winning eight of them – to launch a late and unlikely bid for the Champions League places themselves.
After playing 120 minutes in the FA Cup against Brighton last Sunday and being pegged back by Tottenham to draw on Thursday night, United have another tricky assignment this afternoon, with kick off at 2pm BST.