Manchester United turned back the clocks on Boxing Day as they registered a jaw dropping comeback victory. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit at half time, the Red Devils humbled Aston Villa 3-2 in front of a packed Old Trafford crowd.
Manchester United have not lost on the 26th of December since 1978, and that record remains in tact rather largely down to Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Højlund. Despite starting the game on the front foot, they went behind from two set-pieces in the first half.
John McGinn gave the visitors the lead in the 21st minute, scoring his 5th goal of the season, while Leander Dendoncker made it 2-0 in the 26th minute with a cheeky flick from inside the box. Man United however, started the second half like a house on fire as they put on a marvelous display for INEOS representative Sir Dave Brailsford, who was in attendance.
Alejandro Garnacho’s brace in the 59th and 71st minute was enough to pull the Red Devils level before Rasmus Hojlund ended his goal drought with an 89th minute winner.
Here are the player ratings from Tuesday’s win:
Andre Onana (5/10):
Onana’s poor positioning during set pieces saw him give up another goal from an awful howler. Onana has now conceded 25 goals in 19 matches, the most amongst the goalkeepers in the top 6. Onana made only one save and had a 68% passing accuracy with 23/34 passes. Yet he created 2 chances in the game - only Bruno Fernandes (3) created more.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6/10):
Wan-Bissaka was rock solid defensively with 7 recoveries, 1 block and 4 interceptions and a passing accuracy of 84%. However, for a player in his fourth season with Manchester United he should be contributing far more offensively to create chances or to score opportunities which is expected from the modern-day full-back.
Raphael Varane (5/10):
Varane was a thorn to the Liverpool attackers in his last match and drew a 10/10 in the 0-0 draw, but was far from his impeccable best and was caught out by Jacob Ramsey and Olie Watkins a few times.
Jonny Evans (7/10):
Evans outshone his counterparts making 4 interceptions, 4 recoveries, 3 blocks and a goal line clearance to deny Aston Villa of a third goal. Evans had 92% passing accuracy and was flawless in arial duels. United’s own Rolls Royce.
Diogo Dalot (7/10):
The Portuguese player was inconsistent but was effective going forward and could have gotten his name on the score sheet if he was a little bit more clinical. He was defensively astute too when called up on to nullify the threat from Jamaican international Leon Bailey on the right-hand side of the park.
Kobbie Mainoo (6/10):
Mainoo is one for the future. He has shown a mix of Paul Scholes and Patrick Vieirain his range of passes in distance and in tight spaces. His awareness and his ability to sense danger, his position in the press despite another different midfield pairing shows class and composure in yet another solid display for Manchester United.
Christian Eriksen (6/10):
In his first start since his injury comeback at the weekend, the Dane struggled to make a direct impact on the game but did well to bring control to United’s measures in this game.
Bruno Fernandes (7/10):
He failed to influence the game and his reckless challenge led to the visitors' first goal. His constant complaining and bickering in the referee’s ears earned him a yellow card after just returning from an accumulative suspension. He, however, stepped up a notched in the second half and assisted Garnacho's second goal. He also had a say in the Hojlund's winner and was United’s main provider.
Alejandro Garnacho (9/10):
It is sometimes hard to forget that Garnacho is just 19 years old, but he is playing way beyond his age. He was a menace to Aston Villa’s defence, constantly causing problems until he was substituted and was deserving of his two goals.
Marcus Rashford (8/10):
Despite not adding his name to the scoresheet, he was impactful in both halves with a few shots on target and some slick on an off the ball movements. This was by far his best performance in quite some time, He came up with a sublime cross for Garnacho's first strike after beating Villa’s high line with his pace.
Rasmus Højlund (7/10):
Hojlund is a very hard worker and a player who is still learning his craft. He was left smiling after tucking away the winner for his first Premier League goal. He look elated, as did his teammates. Now that the heavy cloud is no longer under him, he can get the service required and get the tally up.
Scott McTominay, Antony, Willy Kambwala, Hannibal Mejbri, Dan Gore (5/10):
None of the substitutions really had sufficient time but their game management was good, especially Hannibal in holding out the ball in the last few minutes. The switch to a back three also helped keep United’s lead.
Erik Ten Hag (7/10):
Who knows how bleak things would have looked if that score at half-time remained? In-game management was good, especially to close out the victory. An inspired half-time team talk will have gone a long way given how positive United looked after the break.