Just what the doctor ordered. After Wednesday night's defeat at the hands of Wigan, and City closing the gap to two after their demolition job on Norwich, Manchester United needed a win. We duly delivered in emphatic fashion. Wayne Rooney grabbed two (One from the spot) and Danny Welbeck and Nani helped themselves to a goal each.
First off, the penalty. Was it or wasn't it? I thought in real time, it definitely was. I still do think it is. There was contact. According to the rules, if there is contact with the player before the ball, it is a foul. However on seeing the replay's, from numerous angles, I do concede that the defender did attempt to pull his leg away. I think the criticism was a little harsh on him. However I do concede that he went down a tad too easily, and this is the second time within a week that he has "won" a penalty.
Rooney didn't miss from the spot. And it was all United. The second came on the stroke of half time. Ashley Young played the ball across the face of goal, and Villa's LB dummied the ball for Danny Welbeck to supply the finish. It really was woeful defending. He hoped that nobody was behind him, and he paid for it when there was.
Paul Scholes was the standout player of the first half in my eyes. I am seriously running out of ways to describe him. He ran the show yet again. When he was booked in the second half I was wanting him subbed, because we simply cannot afford him to serve a suspension. He is vital to our title chances.
Antonio Valencia returned to form after his dire showing at Wigan. He supplied endless crosses yet again and always looked dangerous. And it was he who assisted the third. Passing the ball to Rooney, the England man only had to take a touch and tuck it home. It may have taken a slight deflection, but the goal was certainly his. Our number 10 has not displayed the brilliant all round game that he possesses in recent times. Yet he is still scoring. And long may his scoring run continue.
And the fourth. Nani, who came on for the controversial Young, wrapped it up. The build up was sublime. Welbeck linked up with Jonny Evans on the edge of the area, and the Northen Ireland CB played a lovely ball to the winger. He slid it home.
I thought today was a very good performance. Villa had next to no chances. An Emile Heskey header and a chance for their youngster Andreas Weimann in the opening minutes are the only two that stick out. Neither troubled De Gea too much. We looked dangerous going forward and just controlled the game from the outset. The win puts us five points clear and half's the goal advantage that City hold over us. Everton at Goodison Park awaits us next Sunday. That will be a much tougher test than today one thinks.