Hernandez inspires United victory
10 November 2012
BIRMINGHAM, 10 NOV: Javier Hernandez came off the bench to score two goals and play a significant part in another as Manchester United came from behind to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory over Aston Villa. Andreas Weimann completed a sweeping counterattacking moves either side of half-time to send Paul Lambert's side into a shock two-goal lead.
But Chicharito, who had replaced Ashley Young at the break, made all the difference. The Mexican pulled United back into the game after 58 minutes before another of his shots deflected off Ron Vlaar to level the score.
And the clinical striker finally made United's pressure pay when he headed home Robin van Persie's free-kick in the final minutes at Villa Park. Enda Stevens made his first Premier League start at left-back for the hosts in place of Joe Bennett, who was injured in the 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Sir Alex Ferguson made two changes to the side that beat Arsenal 2-1 the previous weekend. Chris Smalling made his league return in defence in place of Jonny Evans, who had a groin injury, while Tom Cleverley dropped to the bench to be replaced by Paul Scholes in central midfield. Young was involved and shot narrowly wide as United controlled the early exchanges but his direct opponent, right-back Matthew Lowton, made an encouraging start and Weimann was left ruing his own indecision when he failed to pick out either Benteke or Stephen Ireland at the end of a three-on-two counterattack.
For most of the first half, the possession statistics showed United enjoying around 70 per cent of the ball but Villa, led by Vlaar in central defence, continued to stand up to the test and the visitors' frustration grew.
In another match, Mikel Arteta's failure to convert an added-time penalty summed up Arsenal's frustrations as Arsene Wenger's side squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-3 draw with Fulham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski had put the home side 2-0 up inside 23 minutes, but Fulham recovered with two goals from Dimitar Berbatov, either side of a Alex Kacaniklic header, and it took a second Giroud effort to rescue a point for Wenger's team.
Victory was denied the Gunners when Mark Schwarzer saved from Arteta in the final act of a dramatic game, but defeat would have been harsh on a spirited Fulham side. It would have also deflected attention from another unconvincing display by Wenger's team, who let a two-goal lead slip for the second time in four days after the mid-week draw at Schalke in the Champions League.
The defensive weaknesses that have crept into Arsenal's play were once again plain to see, while Fulham confirmed the progress they have made under Martin Jol, with Berbatov again outstanding. Other results: Reading 0-0 Norwich City; Everton 2-1 Sunderland; Stoke City 1-0 Queens Park Rangers; Wigan Athletic 1-2 West Bromwich Albion; Southampton 1-1 Swansea City.