By Robert Morris
Manchester United overturned a two goal deficit at Villa Park in order to escape with a 2-2 draw and continue their unbeaten run.
After a bore-draw midweek against the old enemy, United looked to replicate their toothless display once more in a lacklustre first half against Aston Villa. The men in claret and blue started the second 45minutes strongly, although they failed to take the lead on a number of occasions and you couldn’t help but feel they would live to regret their inability to finish. James Collins struck the crossbar with a header and Gabriel Agbonlahor fired a shot against the post in a two minute spell before Villa eventually took the lead.
Racing on to a pass, Agbonlahor turned inside Nemanja Vidic and played a low ball inside the box for AshleyYoung to latch onto, however, the pocket-sized winger was given a penalty as he was clumsily bundled to the ground by Wes Brown. Young finished comfortably from the spot in order to give Villa a 1-0 lead.
Ferguson responded by making a double substitution, replacing both Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez for Kiko Macheda and Gabriel Obertan.
Two minutes later, it went from bad to worse as United went 2-0 down. A fantastic pass from Young found Stewart Downing on the left-flank, and an excellent cross was met by Marc Albrighton, unmarked at the back post to net from close range.
United’s unbeaten run looked all but over until they were given a glimpse of hope on the 81st minute when Macheda struck a wonderful shot in to the top right corner of the net. A clever backheel from David Fletcher gave the Italian room to strike, and his powerful effort was one to be admired.
The Red Devils continued to attack and before long Villa were simply unable to handle the pressure. With just five minutes remaining on the clock, Nemanja Vidic equalised. A deadly ball from Luis Nani was met by the Serbian centre-half who nodded home a low diving header.
United had enough time to win the game and almost did so when, in the final minute, Obertan had a fantastic chance which struck an on-rushing Brad Friedel in the face before going out for a corner.
In what was perhaps a fair reflection of the match, the game finished 2-2; meaning the Reds have now dropped two points for the second consecutive match. Should they wish to win the title come May, United will have to turn these draws into wins.