Marcus Rashford shines again, but Man United flat against relegated Villa
The scoreline in Manchester United's 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford said a lot more about the home side than the one that was relegated on Saturday.
Villa were poor, as you would expect, but United did very little to deliver the thrashing the fans had been hoping for.
They dominated possession but did little to inspire a home crowd that was largely out-sung by the away end's chants about going down.
Marcus Rashford again made the difference, as he has done so often since making his debut two months ago. He now has seven goals in 12 appearances, which is a fantastic return for the teenager.
Louis van Gaal will be pleased his side were able to win, even with Michael Carrick and Anthony Martial rested for the busy week ahead, but there's a worrying lack of urgency in this team when faced with lowly opposition. Thanks to Rashford, United got the points they deserved, even if it was a totally flat occasion.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK David De Gea, 7 -- Having had nothing to do all game, he was called into action on a couple of occasions during the final 10 minutes but didn't lose concentration.
DF Antonio Valencia, 6 -- On the way back following his lengthy injury, Valencia did well in place of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, in the first half in particular. He got up and down the right wing well and got the assist for United's opening goal. He was beaten by Scott Sinclair late on, though, and left De Gea exposed.
DF Chris Smalling, 7 -- Villa posed next to no threat, meaning Smalling had a very quiet game. Did well when called upon.
DF Daley Blind, 8 -- With limited attacking threat from the opposition, this was a good opportunity for Blind to show his real strength -- passing the ball forward. He won the ball back on plenty of occasions and made a great challenge late on to deny an equaliser. Managed to create a few chances, but his corners need work.
DF Marcos Rojo, 6 -- You have to imagine if Luke Shaw comes back playing anywhere near as well as he did before his leg break, Rojo won't get near the starting XI. He didn't have much to do at the back, but then also added little to the attack.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 7 -- It was a solid game from the Frenchman, who protected United's defence well. He regained possession, through winning the ball or intercepting it, and made it all look fairly simple.
MF Marouane Fellaini, 6 -- Following on from his performance against West Ham in the FA Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday, Fellaini had a decent game. He won his headers and put in some good tackles, but he was helped by the weak opposition.
MF Juan Mata, 7 -- Mata's best games have come from a more central role this season. He's wasted on the right, although there were no excuses for him not doing better with an opportunity just before half time. He managed to switch the play well from one wing to another on a few occasions. He created several chances too, most notably the one at the start of the second half, which Rashford should have scored.
MF Wayne Rooney, 6 -- Keen to dispel any doubts about his place in England's Euro 2016 team, Rooney showed off his passing ability, repeatedly spraying the ball out to the right wing. It was one of these passes that lead to the goal. He had a great chance to make it 2-0 but his woeful first touch let him down. He faded as the game went on and subbed off with 25 minutes to play.
MF Memphis Depay, 6 -- Keen to get involved in this rare start and worked hard to win the ball back when he lost possession. In the second half, he put it on a plate for Rooney to make it 2-0 but the returning United striker squandered the opportunity. Not long after, following a good run in to the box, he put in a great cross which Rashford almost finished. Tries to do something fancier more often than not and it doesn't usually pay off.
FW Marcus Rashford, 7 -- He's starting to make a name for himself now, finding himself in the right place at the right time to put United 1-0 up. Fouled in the penalty area in the second half but stayed on his feet and the chance was gone. He could have won the penalty if he was less honest. Faded and replaced by Martial but this was once again another fine performance from a teenager who is quickly becoming the story of United's season.
MF Jesse Lingard, 4 -- Worked hard as usual but didn't get into the game.
FW Anthony Martial, 5 -- Didn't contribute much until playing through Depay with a great ball late on.
MF Timothy Fosu-Mensah, N/R -- Very late sub for Mata to help sure up the midfield.
Scott is one of ESPN FC's Manchester United bloggers. Follow him on Twitter: @R_o_M.