Fernandes’ 15th purpose of the season settled a high-quality New 12 months’s Day encounter after Bertrand Traore had canceled out Anthony Martial’s first-half opener for the house facet.
Liverpool nonetheless lead United on purpose distinction, however after a stuttering begin to the season, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s workforce has been on a formidable run within the league.
A 3rd straight residence win and 7 wins within the final 9 has seen United cost up the league to occupy its highest place on the flip of the 12 months because the final season of Alex Ferguson’s reign as supervisor in 2012-13, when the English title was final received by the Purple Devils.
Solskjær was delighted with the victory however has been enjoying down his workforce’s title probabilities.
“It is early within the season and we should not get too carried away with three factors,” he advised Sky Sports activities.
“We’ve improved and we’re getting higher within the league and the season goes to be tight so we simply to maintain working and enhancing as a workforce.”
With Jack Grealish pulling the strings, Villa, so near being relegated final season, is a workforce reworked on this marketing campaign. It took a superb Eric Bailly block to disclaim substitute Keinan Davis on the demise to protect United’s lead.
Villa stays in sixth place, seven factors adrift of the leaders, however with a sport in hand.
Villa supervisor Dean Smith was sad together with his facet’s efficiency within the first half which noticed United push the tempo with Martial, Fernandes and Paul Pogba all having good efforts earlier than Martial put the house facet forward simply earlier than halftime.
Pogba and Marcus Rashford mixed in midfield to ship away Aaron Wan-Bissaka whose cross was headed residence on the close to publish by the Frenchman, his first purpose from open play this season.
John McGinn’s strike was the closest Villa got here to scoring within the first half however the customer was the primary to strike within the second as a fast free kick discovered Grealish to cross for Bertrand Traore to neatly management and fireplace residence.
The edges had been degree for simply three minutes when Pogba wriggled his means into the field and Douglas Luiz tripped him with the lightest of touches from behind.
Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot however it took an extra video assistant referee verify for the penalty to be confirmed.
Smith mentioned after the match he believed it was the flawed determination, however Fernandes made no mistake with the penalty previous Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez, his 11th purpose within the league this marketing campaign.
Because the match opened up, Pogba couldn’t convert from shut vary, Fernandes had a shot tipped onto the crossbar and Rashford blazed simply over from the following nook.
Villa additionally threatened and Tyrone Mings headed simply broad from a Grealish free kick whereas Anwar El Ghazi was denied by a last-ditch stretched clearance from Wan-Bissaka.
Bailly’s heroics noticed him surrounded by teammates on the finish earlier than the ultimate whistle blew with United holding on to 3 valuable factors.
West Ham increase
Earlier, West Ham put an finish to Everton’s current fantastic run with a 1-Zero win at Goodison Park because of a late purpose from Tomas Soucek.
He adopted up a deflected Aaron Cresswell shot to attain his fifth of the season within the 86th minute, guiding his shot previous Jordan Pickford.
Goalscoring alternatives at Goodison had been few and much between with just one shot on track within the first half whereas the second half supplied little extra by way of leisure.
The most effective probability fell to West Ham’s Pablo Fornals, however he headed weakly broad from a superb place.
Colombia’s James Rodriguez got here on as a second-half substitute after an damage layoff, however was unable to spark a house revival earlier than the Hammers made the late breakthrough.
West Ham boss David Moyes was claiming his first win in opposition to the workforce he previously managed, whereas Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton keep in fourth, 4 factors off the highest.
“A very good, skilled job,” mentioned Moyes, praising his workforce for ending a run of three video games in six video games so strongly.
In the meantime, the continuing Covid-19 disaster might affect on Sunday’s fixtures with Manchester Metropolis supervisor Pep Guardiola revealing that he can be with out 5 gamers for the deliberate key conflict with Chelsea.
Metropolis mentioned on Christmas Day that there have been 4 constructive instances on the membership, together with Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus, inflicting Monday’s match with Everton to be postponed at quick discover.
Additional testing has thrown up extra constructive instances, together with three extra squad members whose identification has not been revealed.
Fulham’s match at fellow strugglers Burnley can be doubtful with the outcomes of additional testing of its squad awaited.
Its London derby on Wednesday in opposition to Tottenham Hotspur was known as off at quick discover, a choice labeled as “unprofessional” by Spurs boss Jose Mourinho as he ready his facet for a house sport in opposition to Leeds United on Saturday.