Wayne Rooney got the proceedings started for Manchester United when he sent Shay Given the wrong way from the penalty spot. It was Ashley Young who won the spot kick for the Red Devils, in an altercation that would have surely been heatedly discussed had the score-line been closer.
Danny Welbeck pounced two minutes before half-time when he connected with Patrice Evra’s low cross. The United captain’s cross evaded two Villa defenders before it found the young striker. Rooney added another goal just before he was substituted, when Antonio Valencia found him unmarked in the box. Nani completed the rout after he got on the end of Evans’ pass.
David De Gea - 6.5
De Gea was hardly called upon in this game, though he did make memorable save to tip Heskey’s header over the bar. His distribution seemed particularly unreliable in this game, sending wayward balls up-field despite the lack of pressure.
Rafael - 7
The Brazilian full-back gave a good account of himself, as he was very hardworking both in defence and in supporting his team-mates during attacks. His link-ups with Valencia caused plenty of problems for the opposition defender Lichaj.
Jonny Evans - 6.5
Evans put on a good performance, rising to the occasion whenever he was called upon. He also looked comfortable in possession, even when he faced pressure from the Villa attackers. The centre-back did well to find Nani for United’s final goal.
Rio Ferdinand - 6.5
The central defender had a relaxing game, as there were hardly any substantial Villa attacks for him to deal with. Credit must be given to him for staying alert and shadowing Weismann to prevent Villa from getting back into the game.
Patrice Evra - 6.5
Like all the other United defenders, Evra’s flank was rarely under threat, though he tidied up whenever Villa attempted to do so. He was perhaps overshadowed by the energetic performance put up by Rafael on the opposite flank.
Antonio Valencia - 6.5
Though Valencia was not his usual incisive self, he always seemed threatening whenever he was on the ball. The winger failed to influence the game substantially, but cannot be faulted for being part of the reason for how well United kept possession.
Michael Carrick - 6.5
The midfielder was the defensive foil to Scholes, hanging back to cover the space left behind by his central midfield partner’s movements. Carrick was a calming influence to both the attack and defence, as he was always found in support for both.
Paul Scholes (off 78’) - 8
Undoubtedly the heart of creativity for United, Scholes exuded class on the field with his visionary balls. He often found unmarked players and got himself out of tight squeezes easily.
Ashley Young (off 61’) - 7
The winger was his speedy, tricky self in a match against his former club. However, all the attention is likely to be focused on the penalty he won for United.
Wayne Rooney (off 75’) - 6.5
Though he did manage to get on the score-sheet twice, Rooney seemed to lack his usual predatory instincts. Given the amount of possession and chances United carved out for him, the striker would no doubt be disappointed he did not score more.
Danny Welbeck - 6.5
Welbeck was a constant threat to the Villa defence thanks in part to his tireless running. Though he did not have many clear-cut chances, he popped up well to put away United’s second goal.
Nani (on 61’) - 6
The Portuguese lacked his usual sharpness, which was not at all surprising for a player on the comeback trail. Nonetheless, he positioned himself well in United’s final goal and was duly rewarded.
Dimitar Berbatov (on 75’) - 6
Tom Cleverley (on 78’) - 6
Shay Given - 7
Given was Villa’s star performer, which is saying a lot when he conceded four goals. His team could have so easily been hammered by a larger score-line had it not been for some wonderful saves on his part.
Alan Hutton - 5
The full-back’s only contribution to the game was allowing Young far too much space on his flank. He simply could not keep up with his former team-mate, which also meant he hardly managed to win the ball back to get any Villa attacks started.
James Collins - 4.5
The centre-back allowed the United striking pair free reign up front, which his team was duly punished for. He would also have to take the blame for Welbeck’s goal, as he had a decent chance to intercept the ball before it reached the Red Devil.
Nathan Baker - 4.5
Baker was equal in guilt to Collins for his team being drubbed by United. He spent most of the game playing catch-up to the movements of the United attackers.
Eric Lichaj - 6
Though he put in a tremendous amount of effort trying to keep Valencia quiet, Lichaj was simply outclassed down the flank. The American attempted to get several Villa attacks started by passing down the line, but most of them amounted to nothing.
Barry Bannan - 5.5
Bannan put in several crosses, but his balls lacked the quality required to pass through the United defence. He was one of Villa’s better players, but he simply did not have enough possession to swing the game in his team’s favour.
Gary Gardner - 5
The Englishman spent the game chasing shadows, and was guilty of committing several rash tackles. Gardner’s inexperience was telling when pitted against the more assured United midfield.
Ciaran Clark (off 64’) - 4.5
Unfortunately for Clark, there were only two memorable moments in the game for him. The first, when he gave away a penalty for clipping Young, and the second for his clash with Evra that resulted in a bleeding cut on his head.
Stephen Ireland (off 75’) - 6
Ireland was one of Villa’s more influential players, and he genuinely looked like he could get something started for his team whenever he was on the ball. However, he simply did not have the support he required from his team-mates and was easily out-numbered.
Andreas Weimann (off 84’) - 5.5
The Austrian was not able to score a spectacular goal in this fixture. In fact, he cut a lonely figure upfront as he did not see much of the ball thanks to alert defending by Ferdinand.
Gabriel Agbonlahor - 6
Agbonlahor worked very hard for his team, but like Ireland, his impact was diminished because he had to do everything himself. The Englishman ran tirelessly throughout the game, trying to pop up at different positions to wrong-foot the United defence, but all this came to no avail.
Emile Heskey (on 64’) - 6
The striker was brought on for Villa to have more of a presence upfront. While he managed to win several headers, he was not impactful nor predatory enough to cause a threat to the United goal.
Samir Carruthers (on 75’) - 6
Carruthers brought some spark to the Villa midfield whenever he was on the ball, but his inexperience meant he was never going to alter the score-line.
Charles N’Zogbia (on 84’) - 6