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Manchester United 3-2 Aston Villa: Player ratings as Garnacho inspires out-of-this-world comeback

Manchester United pulled off a sensational second-half comeback to beat Aston Villa 3-2 in a breathtaking Boxing Day encounter at Old Trafford last night.

In a game of two halves, Erik ten Hag’s side overhauled a 2-0 half-time deficit to extend their outstanding unbeaten streak at the Theatre of Dreams on Boxing Day to 20 matches (W17, D3).

Heading into the game, the Red Devils had failed to get on the scoresheet in four consecutive outings across all competitions and were staring down the barrel of a three-game losing run at home.

Considering Villa’s quick-fire start, not even the most optimistic United fans could’ve imagined the final score, especially after John McGinn’s free-kick found its way behind Andre Onana’s back.

Only five minutes after breaking the deadlock, Unai Emery’s team doubled their advantage after another set-piece situation as Leander Dendoncker poked the ball home following United’s poorly defended corner. 

Villa’s second goal midway through the first half proved a wake-up call for Man Utd. 

Ten Hag’s side intensified pressure on the Lions’ backline but failed to find the net before the interval despite creating several promising half-chances through Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford.

United’s attacking duo combined well at the start of the second half as the Argentine winger rounded past Emiliano Martinez before putting the ball into an empty net to initiate the comeback.

Or so the hosts thought. After consulting with VAR, referee Craig Pawson ruled out the goal for offside. 

But there was no denying at the second time of asking as Rashford played in an inviting low cross across the face of goal for Garnacho to tap home at the back post on the stroke of the hour mark.

Inspired by their first Premier League goal since a 2-1 win against Chelsea in early December, Man United went all-out-attack, knowing anything other than another success would be the end of the road for Ten Hag.

Garnacho, who enjoyed a phenomenal game, struck again.

The highly-rated youngster pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box and was lucky to see his deflected effort trick Martinez as he levelled the score with 20 minutes left. 

Summer acquisition Rasmus Hojlund couldn’t have picked a better moment to open his Premier League account. 

Bruno Fernandes’ corner deflected off a Villa player and fell nicely for the Denmark international to volley home and send Old Trafford into a dreamland in the 82nd minute.

After an abysmal three-game winless league run, a morale-boosting win against the Birmingham outfit fired Man Utd within a five-point distance of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Let’s look at our player ratings.

Player Ratings 

Andre Onana – 5/10

Left petrified on his line for the first goal when he should’ve reacted better. Misplaced several straightforward passes as he tried to help United build from the back.

Diogo Dalot – 7/10

Massively involved going forward on either side of half-time despite often lacking an end product but did a decent job keeping in-form Leon Bailey at arm’s length. 

Jonny Evans – 8/10

Rolled back the years to offer Man Utd a way out of several unpleasant situations, making a last-ditch defending to maintain parity before Hojlund’s winner.

Raphael Varane – 7/10

Forced to lead by example when things started to get out of hand, the Frenchman barely put his foot wrong after the break, keeping his passes clean and precise.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7/10

Despite showing signs of frustration in the early exchanges, the defensive-minded right-back grew into the context, proving a nightmare for Villa forward with his well-timed tackles and crucial interceptions.

Christian Eriksen – 5/10

Today’s game should’ve convinced Man Utd to listen to offers for the experienced playmaker. Too slow to react on multiple occasions, he failed to find a foothold in an intense showdown. 

Kobbie Mainoo – 7/10

Far better on the ball than a few days ago against West Ham United, the talented youngster displayed glimpses of his burgeoning talent and amazed with his tireless runs in the middle of the park.

Alejandro Garnacho *MOTM* – 9/10

A textbook definition of a match-winning performance! Scored three times and was unlucky to see his first goal disallowed for a narrow offside call. 

Marcus Rashford – 8/10

Back to the starting line-up after a lengthy spell on the fringes, the quicksilver forward showed Ten Hag why he should’ve never doubted his skills and ability to drive United forward in challenging circumstances.

Bruno Fernandes – 7/10

Brought the crowd to their feet with some insane balls over the top as he always sought a killer pass but again wasted too much energy on arguing with match officials. 

Rasmus Hojlund – 8/10

Tuesday night was a perfect example of his significance to this team. In addition to finding an all-important Premier League breakthrough, the Dane was heavily involved in almost every Man Utd attacking movement. 


Antony – 6/10

Scott McTominay – 5/10

Willy Kambwala – N/A

Daniel Gore – N/A

Hannibal Mejbri – N/A