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Villa Park (ATT 42,682) 15th December 2013 - Kick off 13:30

A Villa Aston Villa vs Manchester United Man Utd

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Man Utd 3

D Welbeck (15, 18)
T Cleverley (52)

Sky Sports 1 HD

Premier League: Manchester United claimed 3-0 win at Aston Villa

By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey.   Last Updated: 15/12/13 8:52pm

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Manchester United: Celebrate Danny Welbeck's opener

Manchester United: Celebrate Danny Welbeck's opener

Danny Welbeck scored twice as Manchester United eased to a comfortable 3-0 win at Aston Villa.

In what was a welcome return to form for United, they claimed their first Premier League win since they beat Arsenal over a month ago.

After a bright start from Villa, it was United who went ahead on 15 minutes as Welbeck finished from close range after Adnan Januzaj's header had cannoned back off the post.

Best of the Match:

  • Man of the Match: Danny Welbeck was outstanding and edges out Antonio Valencia.
  • Goal of the Match: Second goal with Welbeck sliding in to convert Valencia cross was excellent.
  • Save of the Match: David De Gea had little to do but his stop from Marc Albrighton's volley was very good.
  • Moment of the Match: Darren Fletcher's return to action for the first time in nearly 12-months
  • Talking point: Can United get back into the title picture?

Just minutes later and Welbeck was on hand to convert his second as he slid home to meet Antonio Valencia's cross.

The scoring was completed not long into the second half, and it was another well-worked team goal as Tom Cleverley exchanged passes with Wayne Rooney before firing past Brad Guzan.

United were also boosted by the return of Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher, who made his first league appearance in nearly 12 months when he came on in the second half.

David Moyes's side had been staring at a hat-trick of defeats for only the third time in the entire Premier League era.

Whilst presiding over a relegation battle in the season after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson is evidently not going to happen, for Moyes, he can only hope it is a victory that kickstarts the season.

Not that he will meet many opponents like Villa, for whom striker Christian Benteke was a major disappointment.

Valencia gave Antonio Luna a torrid time and, with the Spanish defender unsettled, Rafael was able to surge to the by-line on the quarter-hour mark and send over a superb cross that was met perfectly by Januzaj.

The teenager's header flashed past Guzan and, when it came bouncing back off a post, Welbeck was racing in to apply a first-time finish to the rebound.

Within three minutes, the visitors had struck again.

This time Valencia provided the opportunity, with Welbeck sliding between defenders to touch home.

It was the perfect way for United to answer their critics, and Welbeck to silence a few of his.

The England striker revelled in the responsibility of leading the attacking line as Robin van Persie starts his month on the sidelines, with Rooney dropping so deep at times, he was almost assuming the Paul Scholes creative role.

Rooney did skim the outside of a post after Valencia had opted to pass rather than shoot after driving deep into the area.

Welbeck spurned a glorious chance to claim his first senior hat-trick from a very similar position after Valencia had once again proved too hot to handle.

It was an all-too-familiar story for Villa, for whom Benteke was a shadow of the player who terrorised defences throughout last season.

A confrontation between David de Gea and Gabriel Agbonlahor, making his 300th Villa appearance, at the start of the second period suggested the hosts had received a blasting from manager Paul Lambert.

But pretty soon, Rooney had powered forward and slipped a pass to Cleverley, who drove home his first Premier League goal in almost exactly a year.

Soon afterwards, the England midfielder was throwing himself in front of an Andreas Weimann shot as United attempted to preserve their healthy advantage, a sign in itself of the determination in the away ranks to right the wrongs of a dreadful few weeks.

The return of Fletcher after almost 12 months out with, and virtually three years affected by, a chronic bowel condition, merely added to the party atmosphere amongst the away support.

De Gea denied Karim El Ahmadi after Welbeck had floated a chip onto the roof of Guzan's goal but, by then, thousands of Villa fans had already started to head for the exits.

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 22 52
2 Manchester City 22 47
3 Southampton 22 42
4 Manchester United 22 40
5 Arsenal 22 39
6 Tottenham Hotspur 22 37
7 West Ham United 22 36
8 Liverpool 22 35
9 Swansea City 22 30
10 Stoke City 22 29
11 Newcastle United 22 27
12 Everton 22 23
13 Crystal Palace 22 23
14 West Bromwich Albion 22 22
15 Aston Villa 22 22
16 Sunderland 22 20
17 Burnley 22 20
18 Hull City 22 19
19 Queens Park Rangers 22 19
20 Leicester City 22 17

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