While United had come into the game on the back of their first league win since October and the Conti Cup win over Everton, the game against Villa was expected to be much easier. Villa found themselves at third bottom in the league and had just ten points before kick-off.
Vilde Boe Risa kept her place from her impressive performance against Brighton and so did Hayley Ladd. Kirsty Smith came in for One Batlle, as Hannah Blundell was also replaced by Leah Galton, who featured on the left.
United were in control of proceedings throughout the game and took the early on, as Boe Risa was involved. Ladd played in the Norwegian in the eighth minute but Boe Risa made the decision to play Ella Toone in on the left and the United number seven picked out the bottom corner well.
The ever reliable Katie Zelem scored coolly from the spot to increase United’s lead in the 13th minute. Having limited Villa in terms of possession and chances, United increased their lead in the second half through Lucy Staniforth.
Alessia Russo proved key in the third goal, as she won the ball back quickly to put Staniforth through and the 29-year-old curled one past Hannah Hampton in the 50th minute.
Martha Thomas then got her second goal in a row in all competitions before Toone completed her brace later on.
The win temporarily took United to third in the table, with other clubs apart from Tottenham having had their games postponed due to coronavirus. It was certainly a good way to end the year, as United put pressure on the other title chasers to get a positive result.