Bruno Fernandes inspired Manchester United to another impressive Premier League victory and deepened Aston Villa’s relegation worries.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continued their impressive recent run, extending their unbeaten streak to 17 games in all competitions, and closed to within a point of fourth-placed Leicester.
They had to repel a sharp start from the hosts at Villa Park as Mahmoud Trezeguet’s low strike cannoned off the foot of the post.
The miss proved vital as the excellent Fernandes converted from the penalty spot after being tripped by Ezri Konsa, although it appeared to be a foul by the Portuguese international on the Villa defender.
United controlled the possession and tempo of the contest and doubled their advantage through teenager Mason Greenwood, who further highlighted his ruthless finishing ability by firing in his 16th of the campaign.
Paul Pogba stroked in a delightful third and Anthony Martial smashed against the crossbar, with the heavy defeat leaving Villa second bottom, four points adrift of safety with four games remaining.
Fantastic Fernandes drives Man Utd
United continue to move in the right direction and have not suffered defeat since a feeble home defeat at the hands of Burnley in January. They have not lost in 10 Premier League games – currently the longest unbeaten run in the top flight.
Midfielder Fernandes was brought in from Sporting Lisbon at the end of that month and he has completely revitalised the side from being a slow, ponderous team to one full of attacking intent and dynamism.
A clever operator in the final third, Fernandes drives the team forward with his incisive passing and it was his crafty spin on the ball which earned the penalty, although Villa will be aggrieved by the decision made by Jon Moss and supported by VAR.
Fernandes, who has contributed seven league goals, took his assist tally to six by setting up Pogba’s side-footed finish, with the Frenchman continuing to improving and looking settled in the side after a long injury lay-off.
Greenwood’s smashing 20-yard strike leaves him one short of George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney’s joint-record of most goals in a season by a United teenager, one which will surely be beaten by the end of the campaign.
With better finishing they could have had more but Greenwood and Martial had low shots kept out by Pepe Reina, while Fernandes and Aaron Wan-Bissaka both wasted headed opportunity.
Free-scoring United’s victory means they become the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive games by at least a three-goal margin.
More to follow.