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Manchester United 3-2 Aston Villa: What Were The Key Talking Points As Erik Ten Hag’s Men Mount A Stunning Comeback At Old Trafford?

In what was a remarkable affair from Old Trafford on Tuesday night, Manchester United clinched an action-packed 3-2 victory against Aston Villa.

While Erik ten Hag’s side might have been met by a chorus of boos at the half-time whistle as John McGinn and Leandro Dendoncker handed Villa a deserved 2-0 lead, the Red Devils produced an iconic comeback on home soil.

With Alejandro Garnacho dragging United back into Tuesday’s showdown following a 12-minute brace, it was eventually Rasmus Hojlund who proved to be ten Hag’s hero at Old Trafford.

Producing a clinical strike in the final 10 minutes and bagging a maiden Premier League strike at the 14th attempt, United also drew a line under their worrying four-match winless run.

However, although it might be United’s stunning comeback that will steal most of Tuesday’s headlines, Aston Villa will certainly still be feeling heartbroken following a major collapse at Old Trafford.

Missing out on a golden opportunity to make another statement and keep up their famous Premier League title charge, Unai Emery’s men will be wondering how they didn’t leave the red half of Manchester without something to show for their efforts.

In what was a pulsating affair from Old Trafford in midweek, we have taken a look at the key talking points as United move within five points adrift of breaking back into the Champions League spots.

Ten Hag has a platform to build on

Slumping to a 2-0 loss at the hands of West Ham last weekend and enduring a public Champions League nightmare this season, it is no secret that ten Hag has found himself under a huge amount of scrutiny in Manchester.

Breaking a string of unwanted European records and now with their sole attention focused on Premier League duties in the New Year, the former Ajax boss has certainly gained a reputation for his pragmatic approach.

Opening Tuesday’s showdown with just a single win from any of their previous seven appearances across all competitions, United still have the feel of a squad crying out for some crucial stability.

Knowing that they still face a major uphill battle in their bid to clinch another essential top-four finish in 2024, ten Hag’s men must use Tuesday’s second half comeback as a platform to build on.

While ten Hag might have eased some of the mounting pressure on his shoulders, the Reds will be desperate to prove that their dramatic flurry was nothing more than a minor positive note.

Aston Villa suffer an infamous collapse

Forced to settle for a last-gasp 1-1 draw at home against relegation scrappers Sheffield United last week, Aston Villa arrived at Old Trafford on Boxing Day confident of making another Premier League statement.

Continuing on a real fairytale since they appointed Emery last year and gaining a string of plaudits, Tuesday’s guests also opened their midweek trip to Manchester sat just three points adrift in the title chase.

However, cruising their way to a first half 2-0 lead and causing United a host of issues, the former Arsenal boss will be hugely concerned by an infamous collapse here.

Suffering a major defensive crisis after returning from the half-time interval, Villa have now won just one of their previous four appearances across all competitions and they could take some time to recover from a major psychological blow here.

Although Emery’s side might still find themselves dreaming of the chance to book a famous Champions League ticket in the New Year, they will certainly feel that they missed out on a golden opportunity on Boxing Day.

Hojlund breaks his Premier League duck

While it might have been Garnacho’s brace that spearheaded United’s iconic comeback on Tuesday night, fans around Old Trafford were most excited by the site of Hojlund finally breaking his Premier League duck.

Watching ten Hag break the bank over the summer as they paid Atalanta £72million, the Danish marksman had found some increasing pressure on his shoulders.

Although the 20-year-old did bag five Champions League strikes during United’s nightmare European adventure this season, Hojlund had failed to notch a single strike in any of his 14 Premier League appearances prior to Tuesday night.

However, clearly emotional after bagging a first domestic goal at Old Trafford, the 10-cap international will be desperate to use that crucial strike at a platform to build on.

With United continuing to show some extended issues in the final third this season, ten Hag will know that United’s new attacking superstar has a crucial role to play in the New Year.

Match Report

Manchester United: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Evans, Dalot, Mainoo, Eriksen, Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund

Subs: McTominay, Mejbri, Kambwala, Gore, Antony

Aston Villa: Martinez, Konsa, Carlos, Lenglet, Digne, Luiz, Dendoncker, Bailey, McGinn, Ramsey, Watkins

Subs: Diaby, Duran, Moreno, Zaniolo, Iroegbunam

Goals: Manchester United: Garnacho (59’, 71’), Hojlund (82’) – Aston Villa: McGinn (21’), Dendoncker (26’)

Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Fernandes – Aston Villa: Carlos, Ramsey

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Craig Pawson

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