Man United Stay Five Points Clear After Beating Villa

Manchester United have stayed five points clear of Arsenal in the Premier League after beating Aston Villa 3-1 at Old Trafford.

The Man United players were wearing black armbands in remembrance of the Munich Air Disaster. The United starting XI was- Van Der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney and Berbatov

Manchester United took the lead only 50 seconds into the game after Edwin Van Der Sar's quick free-kick up field, Wayne Rooney immediately controlled the ball and smashed the ball past Brad Friedel from 20 yards out.

Dimitar Berbatov almost put United 2-0 up only nine minutes in, Rooney's cross into the penalty area but Berbatov was unable to direct the header towards goal.

Man United appealed for a penalty after Luis Nani was barged over by Richard Dunne in the area but Chris Foy waved away the appeals. Minutes later Nani was involved in the action again after drawing out a top save out of Friedel from 20 yards out.

Villa did have a few opportunities but they were either wide or Van Der Sar was able to save comfortably.

On the half hour mark Friedel just managed to hold onto Ryan Giggs' right-footed shot. Man United were forced to make a substitution before half time. Darren Fletcher had to be replaced by Anderson because of an injury to his eye, which he had picked up earlier on in the game but was unable to continue.

Rooney scored his second just before half time, a fantastic ball by Nani which was smashed into the goal by Rooney.

Second half and Aston Villa pulled one back through Darren Bent in the 57th minute after he was able to tap in a cross from Stewart Downing.

Just as Aston Villa were starting to put some pressure on the Man United goal, Nemanja Vidic hit an superb shot past Friedel to give United a 3-1 lead.

With 20 minutes remaining Ashley Young's curled effort hit the cross bar. Not long after Young's shot, Berbatov could have put United 4-1 up but poked the ball just wide.

Rooney should have had a hat-trick after being put through on goal but a perfectly timed challenge from Dunner prevented the goal. With less than 10 minutes remaining Berbatov somehow managed to miss a glorious opportunity. A close-range shot by Nani was saved by Friedel but rebounded towards Berbatov, who hit the ball over the bar from around six yards out.

There were more chances for United before the full time whistle with Friedel preventing a hat-trick for Rooney but Man United won 3-1 and have remained five points clear of Arsenal, who beat Everton 2-1 at the Emirates. Chelsea also won, they beat Sunderland 4-2.

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