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Goal difference is the only thing separating Liverpool and Manchester United at the top after the Red Devils’ 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
Bruno Fernandes’ penalty tied Manchester United on points with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League when they beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford.
A Villa team that was looking to advance third in the table always promised to pose a difficult test for United and they showed it in an open game.
The visitors appeared to be on the rise after Bertrand Traore’s effort in the 58th minute canceled Anthony Martial’s opener.
However, United’s lead was restored through Fernandes’ ninth Premier League penalty from the start of February 2020, his tally at the time two more than any other player.
And it was enough for United to further boost their title hopes, with only goal difference to keep Liverpool on top.
– Premier League (@premierleague) January 1, 2021
Goalkeepers Emiliano Martínez and David de Gea were forced to make important early saves from Martial and John McGinn respectively, but the best opportunities came in the way of United, with Fred and Paul Pogba turning down presentable opportunities.
Fernandes doubled up wide, but United’s first goal of the new year came from Martial, who completed a fine play with a crouching header from a cross from the right by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Only De Gea’s tremendous reflexes kept Ollie Watkins from leveling the contest, the Spanish international did heroism to turn Jack Grealish’s Watkins header over the crossbar.
Anwar El Ghazi then launched a volley wide off the first post before Villa scored the goal his efforts deserved in the second half, a quick free kick that ended with a low cross from Grealish that found Traore at the far post to score. to the goal.
But the parity lasted just under four minutes when Fernandes took his penalty in the lower left corner after Douglas Luiz hit Pogba after a throw-in.
Martial stung the palms of Martinez who, after Pogba made an errant shot from close range, overturned a wonderful effort by Fernandes off the crossbar.
Tyrone Mings let a golden opportunity slip in the end, ensuring that United’s inability to double their lead was not punished, although they will have to be more clinical if they want to narrow the eight-goal gap between them and Liverpool.