Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 3: Red hot Hernandez single-handedly saves Sir Alex
20:40 GMT, 10 November 2012
Two-goal substitute Javier Hernandez inspired a dramatic Manchester United comeback against Aston Villa as the Red Devils stretched their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to four points.
Villa stunned their opponents by taking a two-goal lead through Andreas Weimann in the space of five minutes either side of half-time.
But Hernandez turned the game on its head by scoring United's first goal, seeing his shot deflect off Villa skipper Ron Vlaar for the equaliser, and then heading a late winner.
Hard to handle: Javier Hernandez's strike flies in off of Ron Vlaar
In fine fettle: Hernandez has sprung to life in recent weeks
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, Weimann (Holman 81), Westwood, Ireland (El Ahmadi 79), Bannan (Delph 87), Agbonlahor, Benteke.
Subs not used: Given, Albrighton, Bowery, Williams.
Goals: Weimann 45, 50.
Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes (Cleverley 72), Young (Hernandez 46), Rooney (Anderson 79), Van Persie.
Subs not used: Lindegaard, Welbeck, Fletcher, Buttner.
Goals: Hernandez 58, 87 Vlaar (og) 62.
Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
It stretched United's advantage over nearest rivals Chelsea with another of their famous fightbacks in the face of adversity.
But Sir Alex Ferguson will be
concerned United again looked suspect defensively against a Villa side
who had scored only eight times in their previous 10 league games.
Summer signing Christian Benteke again
impressed up front, while Stephen Ireland looked a threat in his free
role behind the main striker.
But United never know when they are
beaten and after seldom posing a threat in the opening 45 minutes, the
introduction of Hernandez sparked them into life.
They dominated the second period and their persistence finally paid off as they took their goal tally to 29 in 11 league games.
United started on the offensive and
left-back Enda Stevens, who was making his first Premier League start,
blocked a shot from Antonio Valencia at the expense of a corner.
Michael Carrick was first to react to
the resulting corner from Robin van Persie but his header flew straight
at Villa keeper Brad Guzan.
Contortionist: Hernandez flings himself at the ball to head in No 3
All gone wrong: Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney look miserable as Aston Villa leapt into the lead
Former Villa winger Ashley Young, who was booed every time he was in possession, then curled a 20-yard shot just wide.
Villa responded and, from the second of three successive corners, Benteke had a shot blocked by Young inside the danger area.
The home side found themselves with a
three versus two advantage on the counter-attack but Weimann attempted
to find Ireland rather than shooting and the ball deflected through to
David de Gea.
Pow pow: Andreas Weimann points his fingers to the sky after sending Villa fans into raptures
Make mine a double: Weimann runs in to put Villa two goals to the good
Villa fans booed their United
counterparts after only a small number clapped during the customary
minute's applause for skipper Stiliyan Petrov, who is battling against
Ireland flashed a dipping 25-yard drive just past the post after being teed up by Weimann.
Then, in first half injury-time, a superb strike from Weimann put Villa ahead.
Weimann released Benteke, who shrugged
off the challenge of Chris Smalling before spotting the run into the
box of the Austrian Under-21 international. His rising first-time shot
from just inside the box flew past De Gea into the roof of the net.
Ups and downs: Brad Guzan celebrates while David de Gea sits miserably (below)
De Gea sulks
Ferguson brought on Hernandez for
Young at the start of the second half but within five minutes Weimann
had doubled Villa's lead.
Benteke's step-over dummy allowed
Ashley Westwood's pass to find its way to Ireland, who released the
over-lapping Gabriel Agbonlahor.
The England striker's precise ball across the box was smashed home by Weimann at close range.
United reduced the arrears after 58
minutes when Hernandez took a flighted pass from Paul Scholes in his
stride and slipped the ball past Guzan for his seventh goal of the
Satisfied for now: Ferguson's side turned the game on its head in the second half
Take that: Aston Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) is fouled by Manchester United's Paul Scholes
Scholes headed wide from a Van Persie corner while De Gea held on to Benteke's header from a Weimann cross.
But after 63 minutes an own goal from Villa skipper Vlaar brought United level.
Hernandez was again involved as he got on the end of Rafael's cross but his shot deflected off Vlaar past Guzan into the net.
Villa still threatened danger and De Gea had to palm away Weimann's header from Barry Bannan's cross.
At the double: Youngster Weimann struck twice
Struggle: Robin van Persie tries to hold off Vlaar
But the woodwork twice came to Villa's
rescue in the space of 30 seconds with a Antonio Valencia header and
Van Persie's dipping shot hitting the crossbar.
Wayne Rooney picked up a knock and was replaced with 10 minutes left as United pressed for the winner.
It finally arrived in the 88th minute when Hernandez stooped down to head home Van Persie's free-kick.