Manchester United put the final nail in Aston Villa’s coffin on Saturday afternoon, April 16, 2016, after United’s teen sensation, the unstoppable Marcus Rashford netted a cool opener that remained the winner till the final whistle from the referee.
The visitors got a stay of execution earlier in the afternoon when Sunderland beat Norwich at Carrow Road. But Marcus Rashford ‘s first-half goal at Old Trafford means they must now face up to life in the Championship.
M. Rashford 32′
I agree It was hardly a vintage performance from the Red Devils but United skipper Wayne Rooney made his first start following a two-month injury lay-off and looked lively on his return. United’s opener owed everything to Rooney’s quick free-kick delivery and fine execution to dispatch a 50-yard diagonal ball to Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera, commonly known as Antonio Valencia, the Ecuadorian professional who set up Rashford for the opening and winning goal.
Photo: The goal-bound ball cooly races past Villa defenders & goalkeeper towards the Villa net after Marcus Rashford kicked it cooly.
Van Gaal made five changes to the side ahead of the game, including introducing Memphis Depay to the line-up in place of Anthony Martial, but Chris Smalling and Daley Blind continue to form the central defensive partnership.
Possession: United 67% Villa 33%
Shots at goal: United 7 Villa 3
Shots on target: United 2 Villa 0
Corners: United 9 Villa 0
Possession: United 66% Villa 34%
Shots at goal: United 13 Villa 6
Shots on target: United 4 Villa 1
Corners: United 14 Villa 3
United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Schneiderlin, Fellaini; Mata (Fosu-Mensah 89), Rooney (Lingard 66), Memphis; Rashford (Martial 76).
Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, McNair, Young.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Hutton, Clark, Lescott, Cissokho; Westwood, Gueye; Bacuna, Sinclair, Richardson (Gestede 82); Ayew.
Subs not used: Bunn, Richards, Sanchez, Gil, Lyden, Grealish.
Louis van Gaal
“It was not our best performance, of course, you have seen it for yourself. I think we played too slowly and it was also difficult as they were playing very defensively and very compact. But we have three points and that is the most important thing at this stage.”
“Yes I wanted to change him (Marcus Rashford). I had doubted for a long time. He is also young and he has played the last how many  matches but, yeah, at the end I don’t want to do that. I want to take profit of his momentum, and he was very positive. I thought I can change him before the end and the last 15 minutes is always very important for players. So I changed him for that.”
The match saw skipper Wayne Rooney start alongside Rashford for the first time in a competitive fixture, and van Gaal was encouraged by the performance of the skipper.
“He [Rooney] has never played 90 minutes in the last two and a half months. I think he was very good in the first half, and I think the goal was also his goal. I think it is a good spirit when you want to play 90 minutes in spite of the fact that you cannot build up your capacity in three days of training sessions. I’m very positive about his first half.”
“Maybe fans and the media took the win for granted and we never do this. In the Premier League it doesn’t matter if the team is at the top or the bottom of the table, it is always difficult. A win is a win, and in our race to get into the Champions League position, it was important to do that.”
David De Gea
“We’ve defended really well this season and we need to continue until the last game and hopefully we will be in the top four. We need to win our games and wait for the rest of the teams. We will see in the end.”
Photos (L-R): Marcus Rashford celebrates his winning goal & skipper Wayne Rooney hails Rashford after he had scored the winner.
For Mata, what matters is to win. Also, whether Manchester United performed badly against a relegation-bound Aston Villa or not, the teen sensation, Marcus Ashford, is unarguably unstoppable!
Rashford made my day!
Up Man U!