Manchester United closed to within a point of fourth placed Manchester City after condemning Aston Villa to relegation with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford today.
The long-suffering Villa fans turned up at Old Trafford praying for an unlikely miracle, by way of a victory, knowing that any other result would seal their inevitable relegation.
For United, Wayne Rooney made his return to the starting lineup, behind the new darling of the Stretford End, Marcus Rashford.
Villa acting manager Eric Black opted for Jordan Ayew to lead the line, supported by Kieran Richardson and Scott Sinclair.
As probably expected seeing as how Villa’s season has gone, it was the home side who made the early running.
A couple of early corners for United were headed over the bar, by Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo.
Villa survived a scare when Rashford fizzed in a cross which Joleon Lescott almost sliced into his own net.
The inevitable United goal came on 32 minutes, Rashford converting from an Antonio Valencia cross.
Right on half-time, Villa could have equalised through yew. The chance went begging however.
Rashford and Memphis, twice, had chances at the start of the second half, as United looked to turn the screw.
Rooney’s afternoon was done on 67 minutes, replaced by Jesse Lingard. Rooney can feel pleased to have some game time under his belt.
Villa were staring at an inevitable relegation, but to their credit, they created a couple of excellent chances late on.
But, as has been the story of their season, they were not converted. First, Rudy Gestede had an effort scrambed away by Daley Blind.
Then, Gestede headed against the post barely a minute later.
United hit the post themselves in injury time, substitute Anthony Martial striking the woodwork.
The final whistle sounded moments after, and so did the death knell for Aston Villa’s time as a Premier League club.
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75