Villa 1 Man United 1: That has to be two points dropped
By Villa reporter
Wednesday 10 Feb 2010 21:40:00
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Villa missed a great chance to go level on points with Liverpool and Manchester City when they were held to a 1-1 draw by ten-man Manchester United.

Carlos Cuellar gave Villa the lead but an unlucky James Collins own goal levelled it up minutes later. Nani went off for violent conduct before the break but if anything, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team had the better of the second half. The point left Villa seventh on 42 points as Spurs and Liverpool faltered.

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Villa had the lead on 19 minutes to lift the roof of Villa Park. Stewart Downing cut back on to his left foot after a raid down the Villa right and swung over a wicked cross. It bounced and Rafael got there ahead of Richard Dunne, but the ball looped into the air and Carlos Cuellar headed it into the top corner from 10 yards.

The lead didn’t last. United swept forward from their own half and when Nani's cross from the right was volleyed back across goal by Ryan Giggs, it hit the knee of James Collins and flew in past Brad Friedel – the 10th own goal United had profited from this season.

Seven minutes later, the game swung back in Villa’s favour as the visitors were reduced to ten men. Nani went in two-footed, both off the floor, on Stiliyan Petrov. Despite winning the ball, the Portuguese was deemed to be guilty of violent conduct and was shown a straight red.

The one-man disadvantage, though, did little to disrupt United and they had plenty of possession in the rest of the first half.

Disappointing, Villa couldn’t make anything of their one-man advantage after the break and it was Man United who created most of the openings.

Luis Valencia found space 12 yards out, but his shot flew over.

When Villa did get into the final thirs, James Milner worked himself room for a shot from 20 yards but Edwin van der Sar got down well to it to save.

Wayne Rooney beat Collins to one through-ball and whistled a left-foot shot just over Brad Friedel's bar. Then Petrov limped off to be replaced by Steve Sidwell.

Rooney was United’s best player once again and a vicious 25-yard shot was tipped over by Friedel. Late on, Downing whipped in a cross and sub John Carew seemed he must touch it in, but van der Sar grabbed it.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Luke Young, Petrov, Ashley Young, Milner, Delph, Downing, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Sidwell, Carew, Delfouneso, Davies, Salifou, Beye.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Brown, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Scholes, Carrick, Fletcher, Nani, Rooney, Giggs. Subs: Foster, Neville, Owen, Berbatov, Park, Valencia, Gibson.

Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

Who’s best placed to finish fourth – Villa, City, Spurs or Liverpool? Can any of them finish in the top three? Give us your verdict on our forum. It's quick and easy to register

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