Rasmus Hojlund and Manchester United beat Aston Villa at their own game
Manchester United conceded twice from set-pieces when they defeated Aston Villa on Boxing Day. On Sunday, it was their turn to beat them at their own game.
Austin MacPhee is the instantly-recognisable Villa set-piece specialist who could easily be mistaken for a Scandinavian TV detective. He was outdone by the less glamorous and often criticised Eric Ramsay in a pivotal moment of the match.
Ramsay occupies a far broader role than just a set-piece coach anymore, but he certainly shouldn't shy away from that reputation given the nature of United's opening goal at Villa Park.
PLAYER RATINGS: How the United players rated against Villa
MATCH REACTION: Roy Keane identifies key change he has seen in Hojlund
Bruno Fernandes' delivery into the box was good, before Harry Maguire used his strength to direct the ball back into the six-yard box. Rasmus Hojlund also won't get much credit for his close-range finish, but it is credit to him that he was in the right place at the right time to reap the rewards.
The Danish forward's anticipation and reading of the game was so refreshing because it has rarely been seen from a United forward in recent years, perhaps last during Cristiano Ronaldo's first season back at the club.
It sounds rather simple, and that's because it is, but if a striker plays between the posts, then they will end up scoring a lot of goals as a result of it. Hojlund now has five goals in his last five appearances, and the simpler strikes against Villa and Newport are the ones that will have pleased Erik ten Hag the most.
Hojlund netted his first Premier League goal in that previous meeting with Villa, and now he looks like a completely different player, so transformed is he by the confidence pumping through his