Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa (Feb 11, 2024) Game Analysis – ESPN


Super sub Scott McTominay scored a late winner as Manchester United continued to inch up the Premier League table with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Erik ten Hag’s United are sixth on 41 points after their third consecutive victory, five points behind fifth-placed Villa who would have climbed to fourth with a win. United are six points away from fourth spot and a guaranteed Champions League berth next season.

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“Every game you win is massive for taking a step forward and confidence for the boys,” McTominay, whose seven goals make him the highest-scoring substitute in the league this season, told Sky Sports.

“It is all positive but it is about repeating it and not getting too far ahead of ourselves when we win a few. We’ve got to repeat it now.”

McTominay deserved credit for his terrific attitude as a substitute, Ten Hag said.

“He is an example for many players these days. There are not many players any more who are ready for every minute they can be on the pitch,” the manager told the BBC. “Today we have seen another example. He is always ready to come on and make a difference.”

Scott McTominay has scored seven Premier League goals this season.

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Rasmus Højlund scored his fifth goal in five consecutive league games — and 11th in all competitions — to put United ahead in the 17th minute, knocking in Harry Maguire‘s header from close range through keeper Emi Martinez’s legs.

United keeper André Onana produced several huge saves to keep Villa off the scoresheet until Douglas Luiz levelled in the 67th minute.

Onana made yet another superb save to stop Clément Lenglet but Luiz was there to fire home the rebound, celebrating with a shoulder shimmy in front of Onana’s net.

But United had the last laugh, with Scotland‘s McTominay coming on in the 73rd minute and scoring the winner in the 86th, leaping to head a superb cross from Diogo Dalot past Martinez.

A delighted Ten Hag punched the air in celebration.

“I feel like as long as I’m fit and healthy I can come on to the pitch and perform. I don’t take it personally, I just want to come in and try and do the best I can for this. Long may it continue,” McTominay said.

“It was an unbelievable cross to be fair, whipped with a lot of pace. I just needed it to hit my head and get it on target. Full credit to the boys, we created a lot of good chances which may go unnoticed.”

Villa had 10 shots on target to United’s five and had 55.9% of possession.

“Great spirit and fight to come back and Scott is the match-winner again,” Maguire told Sky. “It’s an amazing feeling but we’d like to make it a little more easy for ourselves.

“Scott has come on in numerous games this year and made the difference for us. We had to dig deep in the second half; I think we did in the end and deserved the win.”

Villa manager Unai Emery said the result was a tough one to swallow.

“But that is football,” he said. “We played like we planned and we deserved more.”



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