STATS: Forget Falcao, Ashley Young was Manchester United’s outstanding player v Aston Villa

Manchester United winger Ashley Young was excellent on his return to former club Aston Villa.

Manchester United winger Ashley Young played his role as pantomime villain as he put in an outstanding individual display during his side's 1-1 draw with his former club Aston Villa.

The Red Devils went into the clash boasting a 19-year unbeaten run at Villa Park, but that record soon looked under threat as the hosts took the lead through a fabulous Christian Benteke strike.

It was the least the Villans deserved going in to the half-time interval after they decided to match United’s 3-5-2 formation and bullied the visitors with sharp tackling and quick counterattacks.

United boss Louis van Gaal shuffled his ranks at half-time with Tyler Blackett coming on for Darren Fletcher, and the switch immediately paid dividends as Radamel Falcao notched the equaliser on his return to the starting line-up.

The Colombian will no doubt grab the headlines for finding the net and earning Van Gaal’s side a point but it was Young who was the outstanding performer in what was arguably his best game of the season.

  ShotsKey PassesDribbles WonAccurate CrossesWas FouledTackles WonInterceptions WonMins Played
Ashley Young 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the England international was a constant thorn in the home team and performed admirably in a rather unorthodox wing-back position.

From an attacking perspective, Young was excellent as he took two shots on goal, made three key passes and completed three accurate crosses – one of which was delightfully nodded in by Falcao.

As a wingback, the 29-year-old was also tasked with defensive duties which he carried out with minimal fuss, making two tackles and notching up three interceptions.

Aside from creating the goal, Young was also involved one of the game’s most notable moments as he drew a foul from Gabby Agbonlahor which resulted in a red card, a decision which riled the home support.

In spite of the boos greeting every touch during the final 25 minutes of the match, Young kept his composure and did enough to warrant keeping his place in the XI for the Boxing Day clash with Newcastle.

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