Premier League

Aston Villa 2-2 Man Utd: Player ratings as Philippe Coutinho inspires late comeback

Jamie Spencer
Philippe Coutinho's time on the pitch defined the game
Philippe Coutinho's time on the pitch defined the game / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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Philippe Coutinho inspired an Aston Villa comeback against Manchester United at Villa Park in his first Premier League appearance in four years.

Villa were trailing 2-0 when the Brazilian emerged from the bench following a Bruno Fernandes brace. But Jacob Ramsey soon pulled one back, before Coutinho powered in an equaliser to ensure that the points would be shared.

United, who were generally better from their scabby FA Cup win over Villa on Monday night, were gifted their early lead when goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez dropped a clanger, letting a driven shot from Fernandes squirm free and through his legs into the net.

It came from a clever free-kick that saw Alex Telles just nudge the ball to Fernandes, who then took it on and unleashed a shot at goal. Looking for an excuse, Martinez appealed to the referee, perhaps for offside against Edinson Cavani, who neither touched the ball nor was offside.

Minutes later he made slight amends by smothering a fierce shot from Mason Greenwood.

David de Gea was also called into action in the first half, denying Emiliano Buendia with a reflex save to stop a close-range header.

Both goalkeepers had to stay sharp once the game resumed after the interval, with Martinez beating away an effort from United youngster Anthony Elanga, and De Gea getting down low to his left to parry Ramsey’s shot.

Villa began to exert some control in the early stages of the second half and Buendia was starting to look particularly good. However, United - who were without Cristiano Ronaldo - still flexed their own attacking muscles when Greenwood went close to doubling the lead at the hour mark.

The second goal for the visitors eventually came when Diogo Dalot pressured Morgan Sanson into giving the ball away in his own half. Fred picked up possession and laid it off to Fernandes, who made no mistake crashing his shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

But Coutinho’s presence seemed to give his new team an extra lift. He was immediately involved in the move that saw Ramsey pull one back with a clinical finish, before then scoring the equaliser himself just five minutes later – the excellent Ramsey turning provider.


Aston Villa player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Emi Martinez was guilty of an early error
Emi Martinez was guilty of an early error / LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

Emiliano Martinez (GK) - 6/10 - As much as he appealed to the referee, the early goal conceded was his fault. Made other good saves, though.

Matty Cash (RB) - 7/10 - Largely managed to contain Elanga and got forward well as has come to be expected.

Ezri Konsa (CB) - 5/10 - Picked up an injury in the first half and didn't return after the interval as a result.

Tyrone Mings (CB) - 7/10 - Came out on top in the battle with Cavani.

Lucas Digne (LB) - 7/10 - Straight into the team following his transfer from Everton. Provided a good attacking outlet, particularly after half-time.

2. Midfielders

Jacob Ramsey's performance was top
Jacob Ramsey's performance was top / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Morgan Sanson (CM) - 5/10 - Was doing okay in a rare start until his misplaced pass directly led to his team going 2-0 down. Didn't get a chance to make amends because he was substituted straightaway.

Douglas Luiz (CM) - 7/10 - The combative destructor in midfield. Battled with Fernandes in particular.

Jacob Ramsey (CM) - 9/10 - Another performance beyond his years. Scored Villa's first and then set up the equaliser.

3. Forwards

Emi Buendia was pulling the strings for Aston Villa
Emi Buendia was pulling the strings for Aston Villa / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Emiliano Buendia (RW) - 8/10 - Villa's chief source of creativity and moved all over the pitch to keep United defenders guessing.

Danny Ings (ST) - 4/10 - Easily the quietest of Villa's front three.

Ollie Watkins (LW) - 6/10 - Got into threatening positions on a number of occasions. Had a couple of headed chances but his efforts lacked direction.

4. Substitutes

Philippe Coutinho made his first Premier League appearance in four years
Philippe Coutinho made his first Premier League appearance in four years / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Kortney Hause (CB) - 6/10 - Half-time replacement for Konsa.

Philippe Coutinho (CM) - 7/10 - Had a huge impact, with a part in the first Villa goal and then scoring the equaliser himself.

Carney Chukwuemeka (CM) - 7/10 - Involved in Ramsey's goal within seconds of coming on and showed impressive energy levels.

Man Utd player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

David de Gea made several important saves
David de Gea made several important saves / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

David de Gea (GK) - 7/10 - Made a several good saves but stood no chance with either Villa goal.

Diogo Dalot (RB) - 6/10 - Didn't always look overly convincing defending but his pressing was the main reason the second goal was possible.

Victor Lindelof (CB) - 6/10 - Was having a good game until United collapsed, making good defensive headers and blocks.

Raphael Varane (CB) - 5/10 - Guilty of ball watching for the Villa equaliser as Coutinho drifted off his back shoulder into space.

Alex Telles (LB) - 5/10 - Walks away with an assist to his name because of his role in the clever free-kick that led to the first goal.

6. Midfielders

Bruno Fernandes had a storming game
Bruno Fernandes had a storming game / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Fred (CM) - 7/10 - Did his pressing job well in the move that led to the second United goal. Dreadfully unlucky that his well-timed tackle in the build up to Villa's first goal fell to Ramsey.

Nemanja Matic (CM) - 5/10 - Off the pace in midfield compared to Villa's more vibrant and combative players.

Bruno Fernandes (AM) - 8/10 - Much improved after a lot of criticism in recent weeks. Got lucky that Martinez spilled his first effort into the net but there was no mistake about his emphatic second.

7. Forwards

Anthony Elanga got more first-team minutes under his belt
Anthony Elanga got more first-team minutes under his belt / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Mason Greenwood (RW) - 6/10 - Closed down well by Martinez in the first half and had other glimpses. Okay but not outstanding.

Edinson Cavani (ST) - 5/10 - Movement was good but he didn't get much overall change out of Villa's centre-backs.

Anthony Elanga (LW) - 6/10 - Looked bright on only his third Premier League start. Had a shot that was well saved.

8. Substitutes

Jadon Sancho (LW) - 4/10 - Did very little after coming on.

Jesse Lingard (AM) - N/A

Donny van de Beek (CM) - N/A


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