Game | #5318 | 

Season | 2014-15 |

Matchday | #18 |
League Game | #17 |
Premier League Match-week | #17 |  
Manager Game | #105 |
Saturday, 20 December 2014
Premier League | Home | Manchester United | Villa Park | 41,273 | 

Game Summary

Manager | Paul Lambert | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Lee Mason | 

HT Score | 1-0 |
FT Score | 1-1 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | DWWLD | 

Scorers | Christian Benteke | 18’ | 

League Position | 12th | - |

Line Up |

GK Brad Guzan | BOOKED | 75' |
RB Matt Lowton |
RB Aly Cissokho |
SUB OFF | 80' |
CB Ron Vlaar |
CB Jores Okore |
CB Ciaran Clark |
M Carlos Sánchez | 
M Fabian Delph |
M Tom Cleverley |
F Gabriel Agbonlahor |
SENT OFF | 65' |
CF Christian Benteke | GOAL | 18' |
F Andreas Weimann | SUB OFF | 80' | 

Substitutes |

M Leandro Bacuna for RB Aly Cissokho | 80’ | 
W Charles N’Zogbia for F Andreas Weimann | 80’ | 


Unused Substitutes |

GK Shay Given
M Chris Herd
F Callum Robinson
D Riccardo Calder
M Jack Grealish

Cards |

 Yellow | Brad Guzan | 75’ | 

 Red | Gabriel Agbonlahor | 65’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 26.30 | 

Oldest Player | GK Brad Guzan | 30.30 |

Youngest Player | CB Jores Okore | 22.37 |

Unavailable |

Injury |

CF Libor Kozák |

CB Nathan Baker |

CB Philippe Senderos |

M Joe Cole |

M Ashley Westwood |

Banned |

LB Kieran Richardson |

RB Alan Hutton | 

Loaned Out |

CF Nicklas Helenius | Aalborg BK | 9 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 | 

M Yacouba Sylla | Kayseri Erciyesspor | 14 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 | 

LB Antonio Luna | Hellas Verona | 4 August 2014 - 1 February 2015 | 

W Aleksandar Tonev | Celtic | 11 August 2014 - 30 June 2015 | 

D Janoi Donacien | Tranmere Rovers | 18 August 2014 - 7 January 2015 | 

LB Joe Bennett | Brighton & Hove Albion | 20 August 2014 - 4 May 2015 |

M Gary Gardner | Brighton & Hove Albion | 26 August 2014 - 31 December 2014 | 

GK Jed Steer | Yeovil Town | 31 October 2014 - 1 February 2015 | 

D Enda Stevens | Doncaster Rovers | 6 November 2014 - 4 May 2015 | 

F Darren Bent | Brighton & Hove Albion | 26 November 2014 - 30 December 2014 |

Match Stats |

Possession F | 36
Possession A | 64
Shots F | 8
Shots A | 16
Shots on Target F | 2
Shots on Target A | 10
Corners F | 3
Corners A | 9
Fouls F | 8
Fouls A | 9

Match Report


The Guardian

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Louis van Gaal made no attempt to conceal his frustration. The Manchester United manager conceded his players had dropped two points that could ultimately cost them the title after Aston Villa, despite playing with 10 men for the final 25 minutes, courageously held on for a draw that denied the Dutchman a seventh successive Premier League victory.

Gabriel Agbonlahor’s harsh and controversial straight red card, following a challenge with Ashley Young that the United player later admitted should have ended up with him being penalised rather than his former Villa team-mate, shifted the momentum firmly in the favour of the visitors and ought to have given them the platform to go on and win the game. Instead a team with such a dazzling array of attacking riches created little and struggled to break down a resolute Villa defence in which Jores Okore was outstanding.

Radamel Falcao’s second goal since arriving from Monaco, on his first league start in more than two months, hauled United level early in the second half after Christian Benteke, with a glorious strike, had put Villa ahead, but the anticipated second-half onslaught never arrived.

Even after Agbonlahor’s dismissal – a decision that Lee Mason, the referee, will surely regret when he reviews the footage – and following the earlier introduction of Ángel Di María from the bench, United found it difficult to carve open clearcut opportunities. Too often their buildup play was slow and prosaic, in particular in the first half when United dominated possession but rarely penetrated.

Van Gaal did not hesitate when asked whether it was the sort of result that United would look back on at the end of the season and wonder if it cost them the title. “Yes, that’s what I mean,” the United manager said.

“I’ve seen, for example, Manchester City only in the first half against Crystal Palace and they could also be behind in the first five or 10 minutes and they struggle until half-time, but in the end it is 3-0. That’s the difference.

“When you want to be part of the title race, you have to win these games. I think also that we were not so aggressive in the first half as we are usually, we kept the ball much better but we didn’t create so much because we were not looking to the forwards, that’s why I changed Darren Fletcher with Carrick because I know he’s more of a passer to the forwards. But it was not good enough to catch the victory here. We were not creative enough in the second half, we don’t keep the ball so good as in the first half but we had more aggression, so that was the plus.”

For Villa, the result was greeted with a mixture of pride and anger. A team severely depleted through injury and suspension – Paul Lambert said Villa’s bench was “like a kindergarten” – showed tremendous character against a club that tend to enjoy rich pickings in these parts. There was, however, a sense of injustice about Mason’s decision to send off Agbonlahor, after a 50-50 challenge with Young that seemed anything but malicious.

“If that is a red card, you may as well pack up, because it won’t be a game of football,” Lambert said. “I spoke to Brad Guzan after the game and he said Ashley Young admitted that he fouled Gabby. I can understand Kieran Richardson getting sent off last week [against West Bromwich Albion] but there’s no way that’s a red card.

“It’s a tackle where two lads went in for the ball. Gabby is really down, which you’d expect. But I’ll stick up for him all day long.”

Benteke’s opening goal – his first at Villa Park in the league since March – came totally against the run of play, but it was an absolute beauty.

Taking the ball down on his chest following Fabian Delph’s deep free-kick, Benteke shifted the ball onto his left foot and, with Jonny Evans standing off him, curled a sumptuous shot from just inside the penalty area that arched into the top corner. “A world class goal and it gave us something to hold onto,” Lambert said.

Benteke was denied a second early in the second half, when David de Gea tipped over the Belgian’s header, and moments later United brought parity through Falcao following a fine piece of wing-play from Young. Showing tenacity and pace, Young beat

Matthew Lowton on the outside before digging out a superb cross that implored the unmarked Falcao to head home.

United huffed and puffed in pursuit of a winner as Carrick’s glancing header was hacked clear by Okore. James Wilson, a second-half substitute, forced the impressive Guzan into a late save, but Villa, who had a late chance of their own when Leandro Bacuna drilled inches wide, refused to buckle.