Ahead of this match, Manchester United had won four times this season by a 3-2 scoreline. Today added to that tally. In what has become all too familiar (and worrisome), the Red Devils were quite rubbish early. Aston Villa took the lead just before half-time when Christian Benteke brushed Chris Smalling aside near the touchline and picked out Andreas Weimann for a first-time finish. The home side went into the break up 1-0 and most thought, perhaps, that that might wake United up. They came out of half-time still snoozing. Stephen Ireland released Gabriel Agbonlahor down the left flank in the 50th minute and the attacker picked out Weimann in the box for his second goal. It felt familiar. It felt dire. But no one counted United out.
Sir Alex Ferguson made an astute substitution at half-time by bringing on Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) for Ashley Young -- and this was at the ground where the latter plied his trade for four season prior to joining United. Paul Scholes had some troubles in this match but he picked out the Mexican international with a lovely ball in the 58th minute and the striker clinically finished. Minutes later, in the 63rd minute to be precise, Rafael sent in a cross and it was Chicharito that volleyed at the far-post and the ball ended up in the back of the net after a Ron Vlaar deflection. We were level. It only seemed like a matter of time before United would find the winner
About ten minutes after the equaliser, Robin van Persie hit the woodwork -- twice within a minute! United were still open in the back but David de Gea came up big when he needed to -- both with tremendous saves and with good command on crosses. In the 87th minute, in a moment that felt inevitable, Chicharito came to the rescue and found the winner on a header from a RvP free-kick. Three points to United. Top of the table still. And Chicha, you are the most adorable assassin ever. It's a shame that the second goal wasn't awarded to the Little Pea.