Manchester United draw level with Liverpool as Fernandes penalty sees off Villa

Fernandes’ 15th intention of the season settled a substantial-top quality New Year’s Working day come across right after Bertrand Traore had canceled out Anthony Martial’s initially-50 percent opener for the dwelling aspect.

Liverpool continue to guide United on objective difference, but following a stuttering start to the period, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s staff has been on an impressive run in the league.

A third straight home win and seven wins in the past 9 has observed United cost up the league to occupy its optimum posture at the switch of the calendar year since the final period of Alex Ferguson’s reign as manager in 2012-13, when the English title was previous gained by the Purple Devils.

Solskjær was delighted with the victory but has been participating in down his team’s title odds.

“It can be early in the period and we shouldn’t get much too carried absent with 3 factors,” he told Sky Sports.

“We have improved and we are obtaining better in the league and the time is likely to be tight so we just to continue to keep performing and increasing as a staff.”

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates with teammates after putting his side 2-1 ahead from the penalty spot against Aston Villa on Friday, January 1.

With Jack Grealish pulling the strings, Villa, so close to getting relegated last season, is a workforce remodeled in this marketing campaign. It took a excellent Eric Bailly block to deny substitute Keinan Davis at the loss of life to maintain United’s lead.

Villa stays in sixth place, seven details adrift of the leaders, but with a game in hand.

Villa supervisor Dean Smith was sad with his side’s effectiveness in the first fifty percent which noticed United thrust the tempo with Martial, Fernandes and Paul Pogba all possessing good attempts prior to Martial put the home aspect ahead just before halftime.

Pogba and Marcus Rashford blended in midfield to mail away Aaron Wan-Bissaka whose cross was headed home at the near publish by the Frenchman, his first goal from open enjoy this season.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Aston Villa on Friday, January 1.

John McGinn’s strike was the closest Villa arrived to scoring in the very first 50 percent but the visitor was the first to strike in the next as a swift absolutely free kick observed Grealish to cross for Bertrand Traore to neatly handle and fireplace dwelling.

The sides were being stage for just three minutes when Pogba wriggled his way into the box and Douglas Luiz tripped him with the lightest of touches from at the rear of.

Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot but it took a additional online video assistant referee check out for the penalty to be verified.

Smith mentioned immediately after the match he thought it was the mistaken choice, but Fernandes produced no oversight with the penalty past Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez, his 11th target in the league this marketing campaign.

Aston Villa striker Bertrand Traore shoots past David de Gea to draw his team level in the 58th minute at Old Trafford on Friday, January 1.

As the match opened up, Pogba could not transform from near array, Fernandes experienced a shot tipped onto the crossbar and Rashford blazed just above from the subsequent corner.

Villa also threatened and Tyrone Mings headed just wide from a Grealish cost-free kick whilst Anwar El Ghazi was denied by a final-ditch stretched clearance from Wan-Bissaka.

Bailly’s heroics observed him surrounded by teammates at the stop before the final whistle blew with United keeping on to 3 important factors.

West Ham raise

Earlier, West Ham place an close to Everton’s modern wonderful run with a 1- earn at Goodison Park many thanks to a late objective from Tomas Soucek.

He adopted up a deflected Aaron Cresswell shot to rating his fifth of the season in the 86th moment, guiding his shot previous Jordan Pickford.

Goalscoring opportunities at Goodison were few and far concerning with only a person shot on concentrate on in the 1st 50 % while the second 50 percent provided little additional in conditions of enjoyment.

The most effective probability fell to West Ham’s Pablo Fornals, but he headed weakly vast from a very good placement.

Colombia’s James Rodriguez arrived on as a 2nd-50 percent substitute after an injury layoff, but was unable to spark a residence revival just before the Hammers produced the late breakthrough.

West Ham manager David Moyes was proclaiming his 1st earn towards the staff he previously managed, though Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton remain in fourth, four points off the top rated.

“A genuinely good, skilled career,” stated Moyes, praising his staff for finishing a run of three game titles in 6 games so strongly.

Covid uncertainty

Meanwhile, the ongoing Covid-19 crisis could impression on Sunday’s fixtures with Manchester Metropolis supervisor Pep Guardiola revealing that he will be without five players for the prepared key clash with Chelsea.

City stated on Xmas Working day that there have been 4 positive conditions at the club, including Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus, causing Monday’s match with Everton to be postponed at small detect.

Further more screening has thrown up additional positive conditions, together with three much more squad customers whose identity has not been uncovered.

Fulham’s match at fellow strugglers Burnley is also in doubt with the benefits of more testing of its squad awaited.

Its London derby on Wednesday versus Tottenham Hotspur was called off at brief discover, a conclusion labeled as “unprofessional” by Spurs manager Jose Mourinho as he well prepared his facet for a household video game in opposition to Leeds United on Saturday.

The Premier League has confronted calls for a “circuit break” with a increase in good exams but has so considerably insisted the season ought to development as planned.

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