Man Utd 2-2 Aston Villa: Jack Grealish scores stunning goal as United are held

JOE KRISHNAN
Evening Standard
PA/Martin Ricketts
PA/Martin Ricketts

Defensive troubles cost Manchester United once again as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were held to a 2-2 draw by Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata was handed his first start since October 6, while Brandon Williams kept his place ahead of Luke Shaw at left-back to suggest he is now Solskjaer's favoured choice in that position.

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None of the starting XI had made the long trip to Kazakhstan in midweek in the 2-1 defeat to Astana were present but they were still guilty of a somewhat lacklustre start.

And despite having the lionshare of early possession, United were caught cold by a quick break to go behind after 12 minutes. Anwar El Ghazi surged down the right and aimed a deep cross to Jack Grealish, who waited before cutting side and curling a stunning effort into the far corner.

Indeed, United were fortunate not to go 2-0 down when the visitors had a goal chalked off. Grealish sent a low cross into the box which was eventually finished by Trezeguet, but the flag had already gone up with the playmaker inches offside and United had got away with it.

Grealish opened the scoring with a stunning goal at Old Trafford Photo: PA/Martin Ricketts
Grealish opened the scoring with a stunning goal at Old Trafford Photo: PA/Martin Ricketts

Just minutes before half time, United found their way through - even if it was against the run of play. Pereira sent in a superb delivery to the far post and the unmarked Marcus Rashford headed against the post before it bounced off Heaton and in.

Whatever Solskjaer said at the break seemed to have an effect as United looked more fluid and urgent in their attacking play. But it was Villa who should have retaken the lead with Trezeguet threading a low cross into the path of Grealish, who really should have found the back of the net.

The visitors paid for missing that chance minutes later when Fred crossed to the far post and there was Lindelof to head home to make it 2-1.

Their joy was short-lived because 112 seconds later, United were pegged back. Conor Hourihane chipped a delightful ball to the far post and Tyrone Mings, in acres of space, volleyed underneath De Gea.

Solskjaer sent on Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood, who both scored in midweek, in search of a winning goal. But United were left frustrated again by their leaky defence as Villa earned a deserved point.

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