A dubious penalty early on set Manchester United on their way to a 4-0 home win against Aston Villa. The hosts needed three points to keep the gap between themselves and Manchester City at five points following their cross-town rivals' demolition of Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday, and they obliged with a comfortable, confident performance and a relatively straightforward win.
Villa old boy Ashley Young got his new team going, winning a 7th minute penalty after a blazing past Alan Hutton on the left, then cutting inside and running into Ciaran Clark. Young has a reputation as a bit of a diver, so any penalty he wins is inherently sketchy. I'll let you be the judge of this one:
Anyway. Wayne Rooney stepped up to take the spot kick and fired past Shay Given to give United the lead, and they'd spend most of the rest of the first half trying to add to it. They didn't do a very good job - the forward line was as disjointed as the Paul Scholes-led midfield was coolly competent, and the hosts failed to make the most of their utter dominance.
That didn't stop them from increasing their lead though. Some atrocious Villa defending allowed Danny Welbeck a tap-in at the far post just before halftime, with Nathan Baker bizarrely opting neither to clear Ashley Young's low cross nor to prevent the young striker getting in behind him. Although the visitors did attempt something approximating an attack or two in the second half, the next goal also went United's way, Wayne Rooney notching his brace despite an impressively poor performance via a cruel deflection past Given.
That score looked like it was going to hold until full time, but substitute Nani had other ideas, slipping a shot past Shay Given in the 93rd minute after being released down the right by Dimitar Berbatov. Villa weren't subjected to any further punishment - 4-0 was quite enough for the hosts. The win means a nice, comfortable margin at the top of the Premier League table, and with four games to go, United need eight points to secure the title.