midweek. Much of the build-up had concentrated on unwelcome off-the-field distractions but the match-going public voiced their opposition to an unsettling publicity stunt and, eventually, United took control of matters on the pitch.
The opposition Villa were described as a 'Jekyll and Hyde' team by Moyes beforehand and started well. However, they appeared susceptible to lofted balls over the defence and struggled to contain the Reds' fluid front-runners. To be fair, if Christian Benteke had been sharper in attack, they might have made life more difficult but they were well beaten in the end - even if Chicharito's fourth was perhaps a little unfair on them in terms of the margin of defeat.
Move of the match The first United goal illustrated the creative impact Mata and Kagawa can have on the team. Rafael pounced on a slip by Agbonlahor to feed Mata, with the Spaniard intelligently switching the ball wide to Kagawa. The Japan international drifted inside to deliver a ball with real purpose that was superbly finished by an unmarked Rooney.
In the stands Moyes unusually walked to the dug-out before the teams made their entrance and he received warm applause from the supporters. Villa's opener in front of the Stretford End dampened the mood but there was plenty of noise again once Rooney levelled the scores. A huge roar greeted the announcement of Mata's maiden strike ahead of a rousing chorus of '20 times' from all four ends of the ground as the Reds fans went home happy.