United full-backs brought their 'A' game against Villa
In what was undoubtedly one of this season's most exciting games at Old Trafford, Manchester United full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw played a big part, as they entertained the New Year's Day TV audience and attacked Aston Villa in the eventual 2-1 win.
But the Reds almost doubled that tally in just 90 minutes as Anthony Martial scored in the first half from Wan-Bissaka's first Premier League assist of the season and Bruno Fernandes netted a spot-kick in the second, with plenty of other chances laid on by creative forces including our right-back and left-back.
We can't stop watching Martial's goal!Video
“I had the license to get forward and have an end product up there,”revealed Wan-Bissaka in his post-match interview.
“That's what the coaches want and that's what they're helping me to do.”
When asked about the right-back's productivity in his post-match press conference, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enthused:
“I think Aaron's improved, especially on the ball. He's giving us more and more on the ball.
“[He made] a few one-twos today, creating chances and it was great build-up play with a run and cross for Anthony's goal.”
As if to mark the passing of a baton, it was Shaw who provided the final first-half raid into Villa's territory. Initially collecting the ball on the halfway line, the left-back received it again from Paul Pogba after surging further up the pitch and then shrugged off a challenge from Bertrand Traore to force a corner with a low cross.
It was possession in Shaw's area of the pitch that led to Pogba being pulled down for Fernandes's match-winning penalty and Luke came closer than most to creating a third goal for his side.
One of his pull-backs could have been put away by Pogba and another would almost certainly have found Martial inside the six-yard box had Villa centre-back Ezri Konsa not slid in at the near post to divert it.
90 in 20: United 2 Aston Villa 1Video
Eric Bailly's block to keep out a shot from Villa substitute Keinan Davis led to him being surrounded by his grateful team-mates at the final whistle and winning our Man of the Match award, and Wan-Bissaka, for one, believes the Ivorian richly deserved both bouts of acclaim.
“That was a big moment that could have gone the other way so that was good for him,”Aaron told us after the game.
“We're happy for Eric.”