Manchester United 1, Aston Villa 0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
Scott McTominay scored the winning goal for Manchester United but the Reds had to endure a torrid night against Aston Villa in the FA Cup.
The Reds barely looked in control of an FA Cup tie that could easily have swung the other way.
Aston Villa hit the woodwork and had two goals ruled out, one by VAR for a foul and one for offside as they troubled the static United defence all night.
McTominay opened the scoring after getting on the end of a Fred cross – the two much maligned midfielders combining to the delight of United fans.
But Villa were in the mood to attack and will consider themselves unlucky not to at least get Extra Time out of this tie after they couldn’t force the goal that they deserved.
A John McGinn free kick was headed back into the danger zone by Ezri Konsa and was headed in past David de Gea by Danny Ings.
Ollie Watkins beat Victor Lindelof to the loose ball after a poor touch to clear a ball over the top but Watkins saw his shot cannon off the underside of the crossbar after he cut inside.
But a relieved Old Trafford saw that goal chalked off for an obstruction on Edinson Cavani by Jacob Ramsey after a lengthy VAR check.
Ings was offside after another fine move where he found Watkins for a fine finish only for the flag to go up for the initial move to the frustration to the Villa fans.
United’s late changes finally gave them a measure of control but they will be relieved that they are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup – but they have to travel to Villa Park for what will be a tasty Premier League encounter this weekend.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester United 1, Aston Villa 0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
David De Gea: 7. Kept very busy by a shot-happy Villa – saving well from John McGinn, Ezri Konsa, and Matty Cash but was left exposed for goals by Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins – both of which were ruled out.
Diogo Dalot: 5. Got a cut on his foot as he struggled to contain Villa attacks.
Victor Lindelof: 5. Some mixed defending for the Swede who was grateful that Ollie Watkins hit the bar after getting the better of him. Injured himself on the post trying to clear a Watkins finish which was deemed offside.
Raphael Varane: 6. Got stuck into some English defending – wasn’t given much help in front of him.
Luke Shaw: 6. Hands full defending. Gave Ezri Konsa a bloody nose by accident right late on.
Scott McTominay: 7. Not afraid to shoot, got the opening goal from a well placed header.
Fred: 6. His cross created the opening goal. Had his work cut out in midfield.
Mason Greenwood: 6. Always available from wide on the right but didn’t get much service and his shots were tame. His best chance was saved by Emi Martinez and the rebound might have been tucked away by Marcus Rashford if he had gambled.
Bruno Fernandes: 6. Not much came off for him but he did press sporadically.
Marcus Rashford: 5. In woeful form – a cross/shot went to waste in the first half and he looked off the pace. His efforts were summed up when he didn’t seem to bother to chase down the loose ball when Emi Martinez saved from Mason Greenwood.
Edinson Cavani: 6. Starved of service but made the Villa defenders keep an eye out for him. Crucially blocked off by Jacob Ramsey as he tried to defend a John McGinn free kick which ended in a Villa goal which was ruled out by VAR.
Donny van de Beek (on for Edinson Cavani, 72): 6. Popular choice to bring on as United tried to hang on to the ball.
Jesse Lingard (on for Bruno Fernandes, 85): No time to mark.
Anthony Elanga (on for Marcus Rashford, 85): No time to mark.
GOAL – Manchester United 1, Aston Villa 0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
Man Utd 1, Aston Villa 0: 8. Scott McTominay glanced Fred’s cross in past Emi Martinez
MATCH STATS – Manchester United 1, Aston Villa 0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
Man Utd: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Greenwood, Fernandes (Lingard 85), Rashford (Elanga 85), Cavani (van de Beek 72)
Man Utd subs not used: Heaton, Mata, Diallo, Telles, Wan-Bissaka, Matic
Booked: Fred 65 (foul on Douglas Luiz); Shaw 68 (foul on Jacob Ramsey); Dalot 70 (foul on Matt Targett)
Goal: McTominay 8
Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Buendia (El Ghazi 79), J Ramsey (Philogene-Bidace 86), Watkins, Ings
Aston Villa subs not used: Steer, Sanson, Hause, Chukwuemeka, Archer, Sinisalo, Iroegbunam
Booking: J Ramsey
Referee: Michael Oliver