This was a day that strangely meant that anything which happened on the field of play took a back seat for a short period of time. All pre-match focus was on THAT plane.
The plane flying high over Old Trafford with a stark message to the Manchester United hierarchy, in direct response to the banner that sits proudly in the Stretford End.
"Wrong One - Moyes Out" speaks loud and clear. Things are not all bright and rosy at Old Trafford. Although nobody has since stepped forward to take claim and ownership of the banner, or the idea itself, it has brought to everyone's attentions that Moyes is walking a tight-rope towards the end of his first (and maybe only) season in the hot-seat.
Despite Moyes' defiance, and his opportunistic lone-walk on to the pitch five minutes before the players allowed him to suggest that he won't let this plane get the best of him, and in turn he received a standing ovation from the match-day crowd.
The round of applause afforded to Moyes does not hide the fact that fans are unhappy. Moyes claims that he does have the support of the fans but that is nowhere near the truth. The common misconception comes between cheering for the manager and cheering for the team. This rang true on Saturday with United roaring back to come from behind to record their highest goals in a game tally in the League this season.
United could not have asked for a worse opening to the game than they got. One-nil down after 15 minutes was not the way to keep the fans off of your back, but that is exactly what happened after Rafael had brought down Gabby Agbonlahor just outside the area. It was a foul that needed to be made, a "take it for the team" type of booking.
Ashley Westwood's free-kick was nonchalant but questions must be asked of the wall, and to a certain degree, Dave de Gea. In the keepers defence however, he was late to see the ball, but the setting up of the wall is his responsibility.
United's main problem this season has been coming back from early goals. Too often this season, United have been too sluggish, slow, unimaginitave to come back from being a goal behind. Too much emphasis has been on getting the ball wide and putting it in the box. This however, was not possible with the players on hand on Saturday. An attacking foursome of nimble and agile footballers in Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney meant that the emphasis was on controlling the ball and creating chances.
Kagawa and Mata were instrumental in this, picking up space and spreading play to limit the pressure on a specific route to goal. Kagawa proved fruitful, with his lovely floating ball straight on to Rooney's head, giving Kagawa his first assist of the season on the 20th minute mark.
Things got even better for Kagawa and United at the onset of the half-time whistle, with Kagawa moving central and threading through a sublime ball through for Mata, which should have resulted in a second assist for Kagawa. However, Mata's sharp Cruyff turn to come back on to his right foot had fooled Aston Villa right back Leandro Bacuna, giving United the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot right on half time.
The second half brought more of the same from United, appearing ever more confident in their ability and their play. A couple of hairy moments arised when Christian Benteke appeared unmarked in the penalty box, only to hit an air shot when it seemed easier to score.
With the hour mark in the match approaching saw the goal that the Old Trafford faithful had been waiting for since the end of January, with Juan Mata scoring his first goal in the red of Manchester United. It was not a goal you would imagine someone of Mata's calibre to score, but ultimately a goal is a goal, with Mata turning poacher to prod in after a game of pinball had begun inside the Villa penalty area.
Late on in the game, two United subs combined to great effect, with dazzling skills and agility from Adnan Januzaj setting up Javier Hernandez at the back-post to put the icing on the cake for United, confirming the great comeback was complete.
There were a few causes for concerns for United throughout the course of the match, with Bayern Munich on the horizon on Tuesday evening. Alex Buttner appears to be set to deputise for the suspended Patrice Evra on Tuesday, with his performance solid, but was not going to put the presumably watching Arjen Robben off his game. Buttner was booked early on for a reckless lunge on Marc Albrighton. No contact was made, but a lunge like that in Europe could result in a red card.
Rafael was also replaced at half-time due to a slight injury concern, which has seen him miss Monday's training. Phil Jones also pulled up during the match on Saturday, even though he appeared to run it off eventually.
With the already confirmed absence of both Mata and Robin van Persie, Moyes' selection has been narrowed further. Bringing Antonio Valencia on to spread the play and to push Bayern full-backs as far back as possible appears a distinct possibility, with Danny Welbeck doing the same role on the left-hand side. The only problem with Valencia in ahead of Young is his link-up play is average at best, whereas Young can play both wide and can come central to link-up.
It was a successful weekend for David Moyes and Manchester United, but a victory over a mid-table and limited Aston Villa side by no way means that United have crossed the hill to a rosy path. We have seen many times this season that when one step forward is taken, two steps are taken back each time. And they don't come much harder than Bayern Munich.
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