Fergie's United boys have title within grasp
Manchester United landed a massive blow in the race for the Premier League trophy with a largely one-sided victory against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
MANCHESTER UNITED - 4 (Rooney 2, Welbeck, Nani)
ASTON VILLA - 0
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side extended the lead over title rivals Manchester City to five points with only four games remaining, meaning there could be little more than pride at stake in the crunch derby at the end of this month.
And United defender Rio Ferdinand said: “We just had to take care of our own game, that’s it. Thinking about anyone else isn’t going to help us, we just need to keep our own house in order and luckily we got a good early goal and that set the right tone.
“We’ll just take it each game as it comes, it’s a cliché but it’s true. We can’t look any further than Everton now. This game’s gone so now our focus in on winning that one, too.”
United opened the scoring early on in controversial fashion, Ashley Young, only one week after being criticised for diving to win a penalty against QPR, went down easily again under minimal contact from Villa defender Ciaran Clark. Yet referee Mark Halsey pointed to the spot, and Wayne Rooney coolly slotted home.
The champions then totally dominated proceedings for the remainder of the first half, and deservedly doubled their advantage just before half-time courtesy of a gift from Nathan Baker, who let Patrice Evra’s low cross run through his legs - and left United striker Danny Welbeck with an easy tap-in.
The second half was much different, though, United sloppy when presented with further chances to score - Rooney the chief culprit - although Villa were at least more competitive.
However, Rooney finally took one of the chances that fell his way, the England hitman stroking home an Antonio Valencia pull-back via a deflection off James Collins on 73 minutes. And it was left to Nani to have the last word, the Portuguese rounding off a good team display in injury time to squeeze the ball past Villa goalkeeper Shay Given.