Manchester United made it two wins out of two at the start of the Premier League season with a solid 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Friday night.
- Aston Villa 0 Manchester United 1
- Recalled Januzaj opens the scoring
- Both sides struggle to create
- United start season with two wins
- Villa lose home opener
Adnan Januzaj, restored to the side and offered a chance by Louis van Gaal in his favoured central position, did his chances of earning further minutes no harm by netting the 29th minute winner.
It was a poor game, though, with both sides finding chances hard to come by at Villa Park. Wayne Rooney, in particular, was largely ineffective in front of goal, while new signing Memphis Depay failed to cause any real threat to the Villans goal throughout.
The game started as is apparently meant to go in – in lacklustre fashion.
It was the home side, buoyed by a strong opening day win at newly-promoted Bournemouth, who started the better.
With summer signing Idrissa Gueye at the heart of it, the Villans were purposeful in their pressing and seemed determined to unsettle their visitors early on. However, despite their energy, they struggled to create any real pressure or chances in front of goal.
Manchester United were patient, though, and Tim Sherwood’s men paid quickly began to tire allowing their foothold in the game to slip.
Memphis Depay had the first real chance to make United’s growing dominance count, but he saw his shot from the inside left channel deflected wide.
But it proved to be less of an opportunity missed and more of a sign of things to come. Minutes later, from an identical position, Januzaj collected a clever Juan Mata pass before turning Micah Richards and squeezing the ball into the bottom corner of Brad Guzan’s net.
It was a fair reward for United’s control of the game, but they struggled to capitalise upon it and Villa were never out of the game as long as there was just one goal in it.
Gabriel Agbonlahor headed a rare Villa chance straight at Sergio Romero in the United goal on 55 minutes, and Depay squandered a glorious chance to put his side out of sight on 73, firing wide when sent through by the excellent Mata.
However, it did not matter, and Januzaj’s goal proved enough to earn the Red Devils all three points to maintain a perfect start to the season.