Man Utd 5-0 Aston Villa: Player ratings from one-sided WSL clash

Man Utd finished 2021 in style against Aston Villa
Man Utd finished 2021 in style against Aston Villa / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Manchester United finished 2021 with an easy 5-0 win over Aston Villa in the WSL on Sunday.

The hosts had to make do without usual starting full-backs Ona Batlle and Hannah Blundell after they tested positive for Covid-19, but still had more than enough quality to see off Villa on a misty winter’s afternoon at Leigh Sports Village.

United took an early lead when Ella Toone found the bottom corner after drifting in off the left flank and being found by the impressive Vilde Boe Risa.

It was only a few moments later when Katie Zelem doubled United’s lead from the penalty spot. Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton protested, insisting she had won the ball first at the feet of Hayley Ladd, but the referee saw it differently and pointed to the spot.

Alessia Russo would have made it 3-0 inside the first half but for a heroic goal-line clearance from Maz Pacheco. But that that third goal came just minutes into the second half when United capitalised on a slack Villa pass and Lucy Staniforth curled in a low effort.

Villa struggled to get anything going in an attacking sense and the next goal was always going to come from the team in red. It did when substitute Kirsty Hanson drove through the visitors' defence on the left and put a low cross across the box for Martha Thomas to turn in.

It became 5-0 when Toone got her second of the game, while the United star even had a late chance to complete a hat-trick but couldn’t take it.

Man Utd player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Kirsty Smith, Alisha Lehmann
Smith was solid down the right / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Mary Earps (GK) - 6/10 - Easy afternoon. Her first real action came in the 92nd minute when the contest was long since over.

Kirsty Smith (RB) - 6/10 - Able to get forward regularly because of United's dominance of possession.

Aoife Mannion (CB) - 6/10 - Controlled things well. Most important was how she used the ball when in possession.

Millie Turner (CB) - 6/10 - More vital minutes, 65 of them, under her belt.

Leah Galton (LB) - 5/10 - Asked to play a deeper role than she's used to because of the Covid-19 absences. Arguably lacked quality going forward.

2. Midfielders

Katie Zelem
Katie Zelem scored from the penalty spot / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Katie Zelem (CM) - 6/10 - Made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Hayley Ladd (CM) - 8/10 - All-action performance. Did the hard graft in midfield but also got forward well to support the attack and won the penalty.

Vilde Boe Risa (AM) - 7/10 - Beginning to settle well and took up really good positions between the Villa lines. Set up the first goal.

3. Forwards

Lucy Staniforth (RW) - 8/10 - Often drifted in-field from the flank and that allowed her to create the opening that led to the penalty being given. Capped off her afternoon with a superb goal of her own.

Alessia Russo (ST) - 7/10 - Strong attacking focal point. Brought other players into the game well and got an assist as her reward.

Ella Toone (LW) - 8/10 - Scored a fine effort to break the deadlock early on. Continually asked questions of the Villa defence with her movement and got her second of the game in the second half.

4. Substitutes

Aston Villa couldn't contain Kirsty Hanson
Aston Villa couldn't contain Kirsty Hanson / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Kirsty Hanson (LW) - 7/10 - Didn't give Villa a moment's peace and it was her driving run that created the fourth United goal.

Maria Thorisdottir (CB) - 6/10 - Like for like swap for Turner.

Martha Thomas (ST) - 7/10 - Looked keen to impress and was in the right place at the right time to make it 4-0.

Ivana Fuso (ST) - 6/10 - Given just over 10 minutes plus stoppage time.

Aston Villa player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Elisha N'Dow had a tough experience
Elisha N'Dow had a tough experience / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Hannah Hampton (GK) - 5/10 - Felt she was harshly penalised for the challenge that conceded the penalty. Later forced off injured.

Sarah Mayling (RB) - 4/10 - Particularly suffered in the second half when she faced a more direct wing threat in the shape of Hanson.

Elisha N'Dow (CB) - 4/10 - Second best against a group of in-form attackers.

Meaghan Sargeant (CB) - 4/10 - Sold short by her teammate when Villa conceded the third.

Maz Pacheco (LB) - 5/10 - Excellent goal-line clearance to stop the score-line extending to 3-0 in the first half. Struggled generally.

6. Midfielders

Aston Villa's midfielders were second best
Aston Villa's midfielders were second best / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Ruesha Littlejohn (CM) - 4/10 - A poor pass directly gave United the opportunity to get their third goal.

Remi Allen (CM) - 4/10 - Second best in midfield all afternoon.

Ramona Petzelberger (CM) - 4/10 - Tasked with being Villa's creative spark in midfield but didn't get on the ball anything like enough.

7. Forwards

Alisha Lehmann was starved of the ball
Alisha Lehmann was starved of the ball / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Emily Gielnik (RW) - 3/10 - No impact.

Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah (ST) - 3/10 - Frustrating game that resulted in a yellow card when she hacked down a United defender late on.

Alisha Lehmann (LW) - 3/10 - Saw so little of the ball.

8. Substitutes

Chloe Arthur (CM) - 4/10 - Fared little better than her midfield colleagues.

Sian Rogers (GK) - 5/10 - Had to replace Hampton with 25 minutes to go.

Olivia McGloughlin (CM) - 6/10 - Made a positive impression.

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