It probably felt like months ago to the Trafford stand when Alejandro Garnacho scored one of, if not the best, Premier League goal ever against Everton as they went through a rough period of winning since their victory over Chelsea at the start of December. Today felt more of the same for the inconsistent Red Devils as they fell 0-2 down under 26 minutes against a Villa side that had yet to taste defeat in 11 previous matches. However, with Sir Dave Brailsford, one of the faces of Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS investment team, in attendance, Alejandro Garnacho showed why this club still has the magic to grant dreams.
Alejandro Garnacho Channeled His Inner Cristiano Ronaldo to Save United
It is a known fact that Alejandro Garnacho idolises Cristiano Ronaldo despite being born in the same country as Lionel Messi, and he demonstrated why today as he came in clutch for United in the second half. Garnacho was full of vigour after the half-time break and thought he cut the deficit to half just three minutes after, but VAR denied his celebrations for offside.
However, this did not deter the Argentinian, as Garnacho scored his first of the night in the 59th minute with a tap-in from a Marcus Rashford pass. Buoyed by the goal, United pushed forward menacingly and got their rewards in the 71st minute when Garnacho latched home the equaliser via a deflection, sending the ball past Emiliano Martínez, who was in the correct position to save it. While people claim it was fortunate for United, you make your luck in football, and Garnacho did while being at the correct spot at the right time.
The Boxing Day party did not end there, as United completed the comeback ten minutes later, with Rasmus Højlund finally breaking his Premier League duck as he volleyed home a scrumptious volley after Villa failed to clear their lines from a Bruno Fernandes corner. With the entire Old Trafford shaking with celebrations, the Villa players felt intimated and offered nothing up front in the remainder of the game and succumbed to a third straight defeat at the stadium. In addition, United has retained their record of no losing on Boxing Day since 1978.
The star of the show! 🏆❤️ pic.twitter.com/O5JRLzTJoM
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) December 26, 2023
Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Højlund Exclaimed Happiness After Decisive Win
After their superb performance, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Højlund were nothing short of joy in their post-match interview. The Argentinian stated: “It’s a great feeling. We are Manchester United. We never give up. It was a great comeback from the team. I said in the tunnel, we only need one goal to be back in the game. I scored the first one, but they said it was offside. Eventually, we scored the first goal and kept pressing. I’m very happy for Rasmus as well. Too many people talk about the forwards of Manchester United and say we never score goals. Today, we had an assist from Rashford and goals from us. It’s one of the best days of my life.”
As for Højlund, who finally scored in the Premier League, the Danish highlighted: “It’s been a while! I’m the happiest man alive right now. You can see it in the celebrations as well. I’m happy to get the first one, and now, hopefully, I can build on that. I’m happy for all the attackers because we showed a lot of character and confidence. We believed until the end.”
Erik ten Hag also praised his strike force, who came under severe criticism due to their lacklustre goal contributions before this match. “I’m so happy that the strikers scored – that is what we needed. I know they are capable of it. Rashford, Garnacho and Hojlund are all good finishers. They have to show it every game.” In addition, he reiterated that Manchester United is a team that can beat anyone. “I said before the game, if we play our best, we can beat anyone. Even at 2-0 down, it doesn’t matter. Keep going, show your character, and today they did that. We have the personalities to do it.”
Is This Win a Change in Fortune or Another False Hope?
We have been in this situation before with Manchester United. Remember last season when the Red Devils were competing in four competitions and were on the back of three straight wins in the Europa League against Barcelona, a 2-0 EFL Cup finals victory against Newcastle, and a 3-1 FA Cup comeback win against West Ham?
If not, it is time for you to look away as Liverpool humbled United 7-0 at Anfield before Sevilla ended their Europa League journey with a 3-0 thumping at home. Nevertheless, United ended last season with silverware and qualifications for the Champions League, but it is just not enough for a club of their stature.
With an in-form Nottingham Forest standing in their way next, United have to prove they are indeed back with a dominant win or else it will be just another short-lived moment. For more news regarding Manchester United and other football-related articles, follow AsiaSport for daily updates and high-definition highlights of this busy festive period.
WORTH THE WAIT. pic.twitter.com/dKQVMhyBgk
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 26, 2023