Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian

8.24pm GMT

Jamie Jackson was at Villa Park tonight, and his report has landed. You know what to do: clickity click. Thanks for reading this MBM. Stay safe and warm, everyone. Nighty night!

Related: Philippe Coutinho inspires Aston Villa fightback against Manchester United

8.22pm GMT

Steven Gerrard’s turn. “Second half, we improved a lot, but it took some honesty at half time. For the first 25 minutes we were second best, we didn’t commit to what we wanted to do. We’d prepared in a positive way and wanted to jump on Manchester United, but credit to them, they were better than us throughout the first half. But the first goal came as a result of us being passive, giving corners away and silly fouls. I expected a reaction. It got worse at 2-0 but we rolled our sleeves up, we won duels and it was much more like how I want Aston Villa to play. If you don’t take the handbrake off, you’ll get picked off.”

8.07pm GMT

Ralf Rangnick talks to Sky. “It is very difficult to find some positives. We had spells when I felt it was our best game since I came here. We dominated the game in the first 30 minutes. We could have scored two or three goals. We saw that we have taken some steps forward but still have to do better. When you are 2-0 up you have to defend it better. We gave away too many balls at times and were not compact. It feels like a defeat, to be honest. The team is very disappointed with the result, it feels like two points lost.”

8.01pm GMT

Bruno Fernandes speaks to Sky. “We were in the perfect position to score even more goals and finish the game. But we don’t take our chances in the counter and our runs were not perfect. But they are a good team, they score and draw the game. It’s a tough one to take because the game was under control. The performance was better than the result. We probably had more control. But the main thing is to win games and points. We deserved more. But we have to improve. Performance and result together. I am happy to score but I prefer to win the game. Today, my goals make no sense, because we got just one point.”

7.45pm GMT

Philippe Coutinho speaks to Sky. “I missed these games, I missed the Premier League. I am very happy to be here with my new team-mates. We had a good game, we kept believing. We didn’t lose, and we move on. I was a little bit nervous. I don’t speak English very well, I prefer to play, to be on the pitch, than keep talking. I want to work hard and improve, and be in better shape. I want to do a good job.”

Jacob Ramsey is by his side, and he explains how he felt scoring his first goal at Villa Park: “The Holte End, singing your name! Coming through the academy, that’s what dreams are made of. When the ball hit the back of the net, I was buzzing.”

Both players scored a goal and contributed an assist, so that’s a pair of feelgood interviews, right there.

7.34pm GMT

That was a pulsating second half. Great entertainment. It looked as though two-goal Bruno Fernandes would be the story and the hero, but after a four-minute burst of creativity from debutant Philippe Coutinho, it’s all about Villa’s new playmaker. Jack who? United will be sick at letting a two-goal lead slip late on, but there were signs of some Rangnickian green shoots in their first-half performance, so it’s not all bad. Villa’s point moves them above Brentford into 13th, while United remain in seventh.

Pos Team P GD Pts
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Man Utd 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton 20 2 31
12 Southampton 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford 20 -6 23

7.29pm GMT

FULL TIME: Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United

The Premier League welcomes back a top talent in Philippe Coutinho. Supporters of Manchester United are permitted to demur.

7.28pm GMT

90 min +6: The ball breaks to De Beek, who doesn’t quite catch a shot that’s deflected wide left for a corner. Villa clear the set piece.

7.27pm GMT

90 min +5: The first lull of the evening. How much extra time is left?

7.26pm GMT

90 min +4: For a minute, it looks as though former Manchester United captain Ashley Young will get a run out against his old mates. But Buendia is cleared to continue playing.

7.25pm GMT

90 min +3: Buendia is back up but looking groggy. With the game still to restart, Sky co-commentator Andy Hinchcliffe names Jacob Ramsey man of the match. That may be so, but Philippe Coutinho is the story.

7.24pm GMT

90 min +2: Buendia is still getting attention. Steven Gerrard isn’t happy about the challenge, and makes his feelings known to the fourth official.

7.24pm GMT

90 min +1: Matic comes through the back of Buendia, elbow meeting ear. That could easily have been a second yellow. He’s really in the last-chance saloon now. Fortunately there’s only a couple of minutes of stoppage time to go.

7.22pm GMT

90 min: There will be four bonus minutes.

7.20pm GMT

89 min: United make a double change. Greenwood and Fernandes are replaced by Lingard and De Beek.

7.20pm GMT

87 min: Coutinho latches onto a loose ball on the edge of the United D and bobbles a shot straight at De Gea. Had his own man Ramsey not got in Coutinho’s way, United would have been in a world of trouble.

7.19pm GMT

86 min: Chukwuemeka strips Fernandes in midfield and launches an attack. It comes to nothing, but the 18-year-old has looked confident and impressive since coming on.

7.16pm GMT

84 min: Fred’s boot connects with Bundeia’s shoulder, but like Luiz on Fernandes earlier, it looked unintentional, if rather painful. Bundeia is soon back up on his feet.

7.15pm GMT

82 min: A debut goal plus an assist: thirteen minutes that took Coutinho.
Delight for Philippe Coutinho after his debut goal. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 7.29pm GMT

7.15pm GMT

GOAL! Aston Villa 2-2 Manchester United (Coutinho 81)

Coutinho is back, baby. Buendia slips a perfectly weighted pass down the inside-left channel to release Ramsey into the box. Ramsey spots Coutinho haring in from the right. He rolls across the face of goal, past a haplessly sliding Varane, teeing Coutinho up at the far stick. He knocks into an unguarded net from a couple of yards, and that’s an assist and a goal on debut!
Coutinho beats David de Gea. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 7.19pm GMT

7.12pm GMT

80 min: That’s the least Villa deserve for their second-half display, and it hasn’t taken long for Coutinho to reacclimatise himself to the Premier League. Cash meanwhile suffers a rush of blood and blooters a weird ball deep into the Holte End from distance.

7.11pm GMT

78 min: With the game suddenly back on, Elanga is replaced by Sancho.

7.10pm GMT

GOAL! Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United (Ramsey 77)

Chukwuemeka’s first act is to exchange passes with Coutinho, who busies in from the left. Coutinho dribbles into the crowded box and slips infield for Ramsey, who slots into the top right from the penalty spot. A fine goal, and Villa are back in it!
Jacob Ramsey fires one back for the Villains. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 7.13pm GMT

7.08pm GMT

77 min: Ings is replaced by Chukwuemeka.

7.08pm GMT

76 min: Cash and Ramsey one-two down the right. Cash tears towards the byline, and flashes a cross through the box. Watkins can’t get much purchase on a header, and the ball sails out to the left.

7.07pm GMT

74 min: A free kick for Villa, 35 yards out, just to the left of centre. Everyone lines up on the edge of the United box. The set piece is worked wide to Cash on the right, who crosses into the mixer. The ball nearly breaks to Coutinho, who is denied a dream start in a Villa shirt when Matic pokes the ball away from him, launching it at speed to De Gea, who kicks away. The ball’s swung back in again, Watkins eyebrowing a header wide left from close range. Villa have been much improved since the restart, but it doesn’t looks as though it’s going to be their night.

7.04pm GMT

72 min: Digne drives down the left and earns a corner off Dalot. Coutinho races across to take the corner ... and scuffs it straight to Fernandes at the near post.

7.03pm GMT

70 min: Greenwood nearly races clear down the inside-right, but is ushered away from danger by Mings, and is denied the opportunity to shoot. That’s fine defending.

7.02pm GMT

69 min: Sanson sets about a pile of water bottles as he storms off, kicking them hither and yon, then plonks himself down on the bench with a face on.

7.00pm GMT

68 min: That’s Sanson’s last contribution. He’s replaced by Coutinho, who returns to the Premier League after a four-year hiatus.

6.59pm GMT

GOAL! Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester United (Fernandes 67)

Fernandes takes out his frustration on the ball, and how! Sanson’s poor pass back down the United right wing is snaffled by Fred, who shuttles infield for Fernandes. He takes a touch and lashes an unstoppable shot into the top right. A bad mistake by Sanson, but how Fernandes made him pay!
Bruno Fernandes (19) peels away after scoring his second goal. Photograph: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Updated at 7.08pm GMT

6.58pm GMT

65 min: Fernandes falls to the floor. Luiz then stands on the back of his leg. It looked accidental, the Villa man’s gaze elsewhere, but that’s clearly not the opinion of the United captain, who has been on a rolling boil for a while.

6.56pm GMT

63 min: Buendia slips Watkins into the Villa box down the right. Watkins tries to pill back for Ings in the middle, but can’t force the pass through. It’s a fun, open game, this.

6.55pm GMT

62 min: Ramsey weaves his way down the middle, past Fred and Matic, and is crudely bodychecked on the edge of the United box. The referee contentiously waves play on, which, with the denizens of Villa Park furious, may then explain why he declines to book Luiz for a fairly obvious tug on Fernandes.

6.53pm GMT

61 min: Fred slips Greenwood away down the right. Greenwood enters the box, reaches the right-hand corner of the six-yard box, and drags a shot across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. After a sluggish start to the second half, United are beginning to find their higher gears.

6.52pm GMT

60 min: Cash carelessly gives away the ball on the edge of his own box. Elanga snaffles it, shifts it right to left, and sends a forensic low drive inches wide of the left-hand post. Martinez was beaten.

6.51pm GMT

59 min: Greenwood glides in from the right and has a crack from distance. The ball takes a flick off the back of Mings and out for a corner on the left. Fernandes takes, swinging it viciously towards the near post. Watkins clears.

6.49pm GMT

57 min: Just as the United press worried Villa in the first half, the home side are hassling the visitors in the second. United are making mistakes they weren’t making earlier. A loose pass in midfield allows Villa to swarm and counter, Buendia slipping Digne into acres down the left, Digne lashing an ambitious shot into the side netting.

6.47pm GMT

55 min: Digne skins Dalot down the left and cuts back for Buendia, who meets the ball first time and aims for the top left from the edge of the box. He doesn’t quite catch it, and it’s an easy claim for De Gea.

6.46pm GMT

54 min: Villa have enjoyed 75 percent of possession since the restart. They’ve notably upped the tempo.

6.45pm GMT

52 min: Watkins accidentally catches Fernandes, who goes down dramatically. Watkins attempts to lift his opponent back up. Fernandes takes offence and a brief tussle breaks out. It’s all over as quickly as it starts. Fernandes isn’t happy, though. He was caught, but it didn’t look malicious.
Bruno Fernandes isn’t happy with Ollie Watkins. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 6.54pm GMT

6.43pm GMT

50 min: Fernandes sends Greenwood into acres down the right. Mings does very well to slow Greenwood down. Greenwood eventually tries to slip Fred free but it’s a difficult pass and Martinez comes out to claim.

6.41pm GMT

49 min: Ramsey sashays in from the left flank, exchanges passes with Sanson, and fires towards the bottom left. De Gea gets a strong hand to it and tips away.

6.40pm GMT

48 min: Matic, already on a booking, clips Buendia to the floor. It’s not enough for a second yellow, but the United midfielder is walking a tightrope now.

6.39pm GMT

47 min: The impressive Elanga enters the Villa box from the left and pearls a shot towards the near post. Martinez parries well and Villa clear. The 19-year old Swede looks the real deal.

6.38pm GMT

46 min: Fernandes slides in ludicrously on Sanson and goes into the book. A completely pointless challenge, on the halfway line, his opponent going nowhere.

6.37pm GMT

Villa get the ball rolling for the second half. Poor Konsa hasn’t been able to continue; he had a quick runout during half time and went straight back down the tunnel, shaking his head sadly and holding his side. He’s replaced by Hause.

6.24pm GMT

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Related: Guinea-Bissau v Egypt: Africa Cup of Nations – live!

6.22pm GMT

HALF TIME: Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United

United started well, and took the lead through Bruno Fernandes, whose shot went straight through Emiliano Martínez, a shocker for the ages. Villa improved as the half went on, but they’re missing the artistry of John McGinn. Will we see Philippe Coutinho in the second half?

6.21pm GMT

45 min +5: Telles romps down the left into acres of space. He pulls back to nobody, and Ramsey hacks clear.

6.19pm GMT

45 min +4: Elanga’s low drive is deflected wide left of the Villa goal for a corner. Villa deal with the set piece easily enough.

6.18pm GMT

45 min +2: Konsa is up again, but still doesn’t look happy. Villa will wait until the break to make a decision on whether to sub him off or not.

6.16pm GMT

45 min: Konsa is still down. There will be at least three added minutes.

6.15pm GMT

44 min: Elanga dribbles in from the left. He enters the box and takes a heavy touch, allowing Konsa to slash clear. Konsa immediately crumples to the floor, that hip still bothering him.

6.13pm GMT

43 min: Cash curls in low and hard from the right. The ball goes all the way through to Digne, bombing in from the opposite flank. Digne hits it first time, and creams it, but straight at De Gea.
Lucas Digne goes close for Villa. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Updated at 6.17pm GMT

6.12pm GMT

42 min: Now Elanga whacks Konsa on the hip. No booking for that, either, though the challenge was less egregious than Cash’s. Nevertheless, Konsa felt that, and takes a while to get back up, still holding his side.

6.11pm GMT

41 min: Cash comes through the back of Elanga but for some reason avoids censure. He’s very fortunate not to go in the book.

6.11pm GMT

39 min: Digne crosses dangerously from the left. Varane clears under intense pressure. Buendia nearly releases Cash down the right with a first-time flick. Not quite. Then another phase, as Ramsey, Digne, Ings and Luiz combine cutely down the left. Some crisp passing, but nothing opens up. A clear improvement on what’s gone before, though the bar was set low.

6.08pm GMT

37 min: Villa pin United back for the first time this evening. Bundeia orchestrating much of their play. United hold firm, but this is much better from the home side.

6.06pm GMT

36 min: ... Buendia meets the ball at the near post, flashing a header straight at De Gea, who nevertheless reacts well to block. Villa have finally turned up.

6.05pm GMT

35 min: Villa win their first corner of the evening, out on the left. That leads to a corner on the right, and from that ...

6.05pm GMT

33 min: Greenwood romps into the Villa box down the left and has a dig from a tight angle. Martinez parries, the ball looping up to Elanga, who can’t get purchase on a header. It’s a fairly hefty caveat, but Martinez has been very good apart from the monumental howler.

6.03pm GMT

32 min: Villa take a touch in the United box! Cavani’s mistake allows the home side to counter, and Watkins is found in a bit of space down the left, just inside the area. He lines it up carefully, and aims a curler towards the bottom right. The telegraphed effort is easily gathered by De Gea.

6.02pm GMT

31 min: Ings drops a shoulder to beat Matic down the right. Matic cynically clips him, and that’s a booking. Luiz takes the free kick, sending it into the mixer. It’s nowhere near any of his team-mates, though, and Fred traps and clears. Villa still haven’t had a touch in the United box.

6.00pm GMT

30 min: Villa haven’t had a touch in the United box yet. “Fernandes looks exceedingly more confident with Ronaldo out of the team,” opines Ciarán Brennan. “I imagine he’ll be even more confident next year when Ronaldo won’t be in the country.”

5.59pm GMT

28 min: Telles whips the free kick straight at Martinez, testing the keeper’s mettle. Martinez parries clear, but only to Greenwood, who whistles a low drive inches wide of the right-hand post. Not sure Martinez was getting to that, had it been on target.

5.58pm GMT

27 min: Dalot checks in from the right wing and is scythed to the floor by Digne’s ludicrously late slide. A booking, and a free kick just to the right of the Villa box.
Lucas Digne fells Diogo Dalot to pick up a booking on his Villa debut. Photograph: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Updated at 6.02pm GMT

5.56pm GMT

25 min: United are snapping into the press, and it’s making Villa extremely nervous. The Rangnick way beginning to bear fruit?

5.54pm GMT

23 min: Elanga dribbles at speed down the left and enters the Villa box. He goes over with Sanson nearby, and claims a penalty. He’s not getting one. Cavani is quickest to the loose ball and flashes a shot-cum-cross through the six-yard box. Villa are all over the shop here.

5.53pm GMT

22 min: Some sterile possession for Villa. Baby steps, small acorns, all that.

5.52pm GMT

20 min: Nothing comes of the corner, and Cavani trots back onto the field of play, good to continue right now.

5.51pm GMT

19 min: Before the corner can be taken, Cavani requires some treatment. He looks to have twisted his knee while lunging for that cross. He hobbles off the pitch, but there’s no sub. He’s going to try to run it off.

Updated at 5.52pm GMT

5.50pm GMT

18 min: Villa stroke it around the back, with a view to settling down at last. There’s not much movement up front, though, and eventually possession is shipped in a jittery style. United pour forward, Telles crossing from the left. Cavani can’t connect in the middle, ten yards out, but the ball bounces further on for Greenwood, in plenty of space. Martinez redeems himself by racing out to Greenwood’s feet and winning the one-on-one battle. He parries out for a corner. Stunning save.
Martinez makes amends with a great save from Greenwood. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 5.54pm GMT

5.46pm GMT

16 min: Mings plays a simple five-yard pass out of play. Villa are rattled. They looked slightly unsure of themselves even before Martinez’s howler. Very strange, given how well they played in patches at Old Trafford last Monday.

5.45pm GMT

14 min: United are in complete control right now, pinging the ball around with calm confidence in their sky blue shirts. Squint and you could be watching Pep’s City.

5.43pm GMT

12 min: Fred curls one in from the right. Elanga rises above Cash at the near post, and heads into the side netting. He should have done better, with Martinez, his head presumably swimming, out of position and flapping a little.

5.41pm GMT

10 min: Villa try to respond to the shock of that farcical goal. Buendia runs at a slightly disorganised United back line, but over-elaborates in his efforts to release Watkins.

5.40pm GMT

8 min: That’s quietened the home crowd considerably. An awful error, one for the ages. Martinez, consumed with embarrassment, claims Telles didn’t touch the ball at the free kick before Fernandes ran off with it, but the referee’s quite rightly not having any of it.
Bruno Fernandes is mobbed after opening the scoring at Villa Park. Photograph: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Updated at 5.44pm GMT

5.38pm GMT

GOAL! Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United (Fernandes 6)

Telles takes a feather-light touch, allowing Fernandes to shift the ball infield. He takes a couple of touches, tees himself up, and sends a shot towards the bottom left. It should be an easy gather for Martinez, but he lets the ball slip through his hands and between his legs. It rolls apologetically into the net, and that’s a huge howler by the Villa keeper. Shades of Massimo Taibi and Matt Le Tissier, all those years ago.
Emiliano Martinez lets in a howler. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 5.43pm GMT

5.36pm GMT

5 min: Another free kick for United, Telles barged to the floor by Sanson as he makes off down the left. Before it can be taken, the referee takes time out to deliver a rollocking to everyone in the box. A lot of pushing and shoving going on.

5.34pm GMT

4 min: Telles swings a free kick in from the left and it’s only half hacked clear by Watkins. A slightly nervous start by Villa, who can’t get out of their half, or retain any possession.

5.33pm GMT

3 min: This one - United’s 101st of the campaign so far - doesn’t beat the first man. United still haven’t scored from a corner kick this season yet.

5.32pm GMT

2 min: Dalot strokes a long pass down the left wing where the presence of Elanga forces the first corner of the game. Fernandes takes. Digne’s first act in a Villa shirt is to head behind for another. Fernandes to take again.

5.30pm GMT

United get the ball rolling ... but only after everyone takes the knee. Villa Park fills with appreciative applause. There’s no room for racism.

5.28pm GMT

The teams are out. Villa wear their famous claret and blue, while United sport their ersatz early 90s light blue away strip. Philippe Coutinho has taken a bow, applauding the fans in all four corners of Villa Park. A rare old atmosphere in this famous old stadium, with the hosts looking for their first home victory in the Premier League over United since August 1995 . You can’t win anything with kids. We’ll be off in a minute.

Updated at 5.31pm GMT

5.18pm GMT

Steven Gerrard speaks to Sky. “Philippe Coutinho is on the back of a Covid situation, he was only training at home. We need to build his match sharpness up. But he has trained with us for the last three days with no problems, he’s looking sharp, further on than we thought, so if the game needs him, I’d have no problem with putting him out there.”

Ralf Rangnick adds: “Cristiano Ronaldo still had problems with his hip. We decided not to train him yesterday. It doesn’t make sense to play him today. Hopefully he can play on Wednesday.”

5.00pm GMT

Some pre-match reading.

Related: Will Coutinho, the costly Barcelona misfit, show his worth at Aston Villa? | Sid Lowe

Related: When Aston Villa humbled Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United

4.58pm GMT

The 3pm kick-offs have finished. Newcastle 1-1 Watford, Norwich 2-1 Everton, Wolves 3-1 Southampton. All of which means the Premier League now looks like this ...

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Man City 22 41 56
2 Chelsea 22 28 43
3 Liverpool 20 34 42
4 West Ham 21 12 37
5 Arsenal 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Man Utd 19 3 31
8 Wolverhampton 20 2 31
9 Brighton 20 0 28
10 Leicester 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton 21 -8 24
13 Brentford 20 -6 23
14 Aston Villa 19 -5 22
15 Everton 19 -10 19
16 Leeds 19 -16 19
17 Watford 19 -14 14
18 Norwich 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle 20 -23 12
20 Burnley 17 -11 11

... and so a Villa win tonight will whisk them up to 11th (tenth if they win by four goals or more) while United would move up to sixth should they take all three points.

4.40pm GMT

Lucas Digne makes his Aston Villa debut this evening. Philippe Coutinho could eventually make his too, though he’ll have to come off the bench. John McGinn is suspended, so Morgan Sanson takes his place in midfield.

Manchester United make three changes to the side that put Villa out of the FA Cup on Monday evening. Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are both suspended, so in come Alex Telles and Nemanja Matic. Marcus Rashford, out of sorts recently, has been given a rest, so Anthony Elanga takes his place in the attack. There’s still no Cristiano Ronaldo, but Harry Maguire is back from injury and takes a spot on the bench.

4.35pm GMT

The teams

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne, Sanson, Luiz, Ramsey, Watkins, Ings, Buendia.
Subs: Targett, Steer, Young, Coutinho, Hause, Chukwuemeka, Archer, Iroegbunam, Kesler.

Manchester United: de Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Telles, Fred, Matic, Greenwood, Fernandes, Elanga, Cavani.
Subs: Jones, Maguire, Mata, Lingard, Heaton, Sancho, Henderson, van de Beek.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

4.30pm GMT


In which Aston Villa try to pay Manchester United back for their FA Cup defeat last Monday. Kick off is at 5.30pm. It’s on!

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