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Analysis: Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United

 Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana dives to make a save during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park
Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana dives to make a save during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park

Simon Stone, BBC Sport

When Erik ten Hag was fighting to delay Andre Onana's departure for the Africa Cup of Nations, some observers cruelly suggested United would be better served letting the Cameroon international go and put their faith in Altay Bayindir instead.

As it turned out, Bayindir only played one game. Cameroon were eliminated earlier than anticipated and Onana has been reinstalled in the United goal.

How Erik ten Hag must be thankful for that.

In a game United realistically had to win to stand a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, Onana pulled off a string of superb reaction saves. True, his kicking still leaves something to be desired but without Onana at Villa Park, Ten Hag's side would not have won.

The first half saves to deny John McGinn and Ollie Watkins were superb. The way he beat out a Clement Lenglet effort in the second period deserved far more than to end up presenting Douglas Luiz with his chance to equalise.

Finally Onana is starting to prove why Ten Hag was willing to let David de Gea leave to get him.