Man Utd join Liverpool at the top as Villa win sets up seismic Anfield showdown

Liverpool have some familiar company on their perch at the top of the Premier League table.

And it comes from old foes in the shape of Manchester United following their hard fought win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

Few would have predicted this considering United were languishing in the bottom half of the table as recently as November, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer battling to keep his job.

But somehow the Norwegian has engineered a 10 game unbeaten run to see United charge through the field and join Jurgen Klopp's bitter rivals in looking down on the chasing pack.

Goals from Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes were enough to see off Villa, who had equalised through Bertrand Traore after the break in an attempt to put the brakes on United.

But there seems no stopping United right now and Solskjaer's men will travel to Anfield later this month for a seismic showdown that promises to have a huge bearing on the title race.

Solskjaer made four changes to the side that secured a last-gasp home win over Wolves last time out.

Martial returned for the suspended Edinson Cavani, who started a three match ban for a social media post containing racist language.

Fred, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw also came back in as United looked to extend their unbeaten domestic run to double figures.

The visitors, meanwhile, made just one change, with Tyrone Mings returning from a one-game ban to replace Kortney Hause at the heart of his side's defence.

Villa arrived in Manchester high on confidence following a good run themselves of five games unbeaten, to be keeping esteemed company towards the top of the table.

But the omens were not on Villa's side last night – considering the Midlands outfit had won just once at Old Trafford since 1983.

United started well and could have gone ahead inside 10 minutes when a break from Fernandes released Martial, but his powerful strike was well saved by Emiliano Martinez.

Villa took time to settle, but forced David De Gea into a smart save with their first attack when the Spaniard needed to be sharp to keep out John McGinn's first time volley.

United were the more threatening though and Fred blazed just over following a fine move involving Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Martinez was then forced to charge outside his box to head clear a long ball forward from Paul Pogba, before the Frechman curled a shot wide moments later as the United pressure continued to build.

The breakthrough came five minutes before half time when Martial finished off a flowing move involving Pogba, Rashford and Wan-Bissaka down the right.

Mings should have cleared the danger but missed Wan-Bissaka's cross altogether, allowing Martial to plant his header past Martinez to make it 1-0.

Matty Cash flashed a shot inches too high on 51 minutes before Ollie Watkins and Anwar El Ghazi both went close moments later as Villa pressed for an equaliser.

United needed a second goal for comfort and Rashford almost delivered it, but shot straight at Maryinez having danced through the Villa defence.

The miss looked to be costly when Traore equalised on 58 minutes, but Villa fell behind again 120 seconds later to waste all their hard work getting back into the contest.

Douglas Luiz tripped Pogba, allowing Fernandes to beat Martinez to notch his 15th goal of the season and help United start this year just like they'd finished the last one.

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