Monday 23 December 2013
We remember Paul Scholes' cracking goal against Aston Villa, Chelsea hitting eight at Stamford Bridge and Milan Baros signing for Liverpool
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and Paul Scholes rifled in a superb volley as Manchester United bounced back from the previous week’s defeat at West Ham United with a comfortable victory.
Man Utd showed no ill effects from only their second loss of the season six days previously as they maintained their two-point lead over Chelsea at the top of the Barclays Premier League, while Villa dropped two places to 10th.
Villa made the brighter start and Craig Gardner headed against the post in the 15th minute after Chris Sutton flicked on Gareth Barry's free-kick.
The visitors rallied and Villa goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly had to save first from Patrice Evra and then Ronaldo. And they opened the scoring just before the hour mark when Ronaldo scored at the second attempt after his shot, following a run from the halfway line, had been blocked by Gary Cahill.
Scholes then scored a brilliant second, with a volley from all of 25 yards that crashed in off the underside of the bar, after Gavin McCann had headed away a Ryan Giggs corner.
United sealed victory five minutes from time when substitute Wayne Rooney passed down the right to Gary Neville, whose pinpoint cross was tucked away by Ronaldo.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "It's a big result after last week's disappointment. The players got to grips with the game and Ronaldo was unbelievable – a revelation today."
Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "We were playing very well until they scored the first goal, which was very avoidable from our point of view. You make mistakes against top quality sides and you'll remember them."
The RedDevils went on to win their 16th top-flight title, and first for four seasons, while Villa finished 11th.