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Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United: Welbeck scores two as Reds bounce back

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Danny Welbeck scored a brace as Manchester United thumped Aston Villa 3-0 at Villa Park, while Darren Fletcher also returned after a long absence.

Matthew Lewis

Danny Welbeck scored a brace, Tom Cleverley had a good game and scored, Darren Fletcher returned, Manchester United played some of their best football of the season, and we got a win. It was a very good day for United, as they won 3-0 at Villa Park.

Aston Villa were looking sluggish at the start, although Christian Benteke did get into space down the left channel, requiring a heroic intervention from Rafael to fly back with a tackle to deny the Belgian. Other than that moment, United were dominant, and it was not long before they put themselves in the lead.

The Reds struck brilliantly with a goal featuring their most likeable players - Rafael crossing in for Januzaj to meet the ball with a towering (yes) header which struck the post, from which Welbeck pounced to smash home the rebound.

Just afterwards, United doubled their lead with some brilliantly incisive counter-attacking, Welbeck playing the ball out to Valencia and collecting his centre in return, putting the ball beyond Guzan with the outside of his foot and into the top corner to give United a two-goal advantage.

Wayne Rooney came close to scoring, and Danny Welbeck had a couple of near chances to complete his hat-trick, but it wasn't long after the start of the second half that United wrapped things up with a third goal, courtesy of Tom Cleverley, of all people. Wayne Rooney provided a fine through-ball for the midfielder to run onto and score courtesy of some pretty poor goalkeeping by Brad Guzan at his near post.

That rounded things up nicely for United, who are now in the dizzying heights of eighth on the table - ten points off the top and seven points behind rivals and favourites City..