Man United move closer to the top four with a 1-0 win over Villa. football news

A goal from Bruno Fernandes earned Manchester United a 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday, boosting their chances of a top-four finish in the Premier League and continuing their dominant form at Old Trafford.

Aston Villa’s Jhon Duran goes with the ball as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw runs behind (AP)

Erik ten Haag’s side are fourth with 63 points from 32 matches and have a game on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with 54 points.

United are unbeaten in 15 straight Premier League games at home, with only three draws. They have not lost at Old Trafford since the opening weekend of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion.

United created several excellent chances early on and Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez was finally rewarded in the 39th minute.

Martinez dived to push away Marcus Rashford’s shot after a well-timed move from the United striker and Fernandes raced in for a one-touch finish from a tight angle for his 100th career league goal. He celebrated in front of the Aston Villa section.

“They probably don’t like playing against me… I would prefer them to come and support their players instead of focusing on me,” Fernandes told MUTV.

Unai Emery’s Villa, whose first loss in 11 matches, are sixth in the table with 54 points from 34 matches. They also failed to score for the first time in their 21 matches since Emery took charge.

Three days earlier, Ten Haag reprimanded his players for not giving 100% in a 2–2 draw at Spurs.

They responded well on Sunday, creating several early chances including Marcel Sabitzer’s volley that went over the goal, and Casemiro’s curling shot came back off the crossbar a few minutes later.

While Villa were better after the break, United still had more chances, including a couple from Rashford alone. In the 59th minute, he split two Villa defenders before Martínez drove off his line to snatch the ball.

Some excellent defending kept the visitors from drawing level in the dying minutes, including rapid-fire clearances from Sabitzer with his foot and Victor Lindelof with his head.

Ten Haag told the BBC, “A good three points but I think an impressive performance from Manchester United. We were brilliant on the ball, we had good possession and pressed well.”

“In the second half you want to go 2-0 up but we didn’t, so it’s always going to be a tough end.

“(Lindelof) played brilliantly. He was in complete control in the area around (Villa striker Ollie) Watkins.”

Hundreds of fans marched to Old Trafford before the game, lighting flares and unfurling a large banner reading “Full sale only”, to protest the Glazer family’s ownership of the team.

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