Man United hit Aston Villa for five in Old Trafford showcase

Katie Zelem and Leah Galton of Manchester United celebrate with a hug
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Katie Zelem of Manchester United celebrates with teammate Leah Galton after scoring their side's first goal during the FA Women's Super League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on December 03, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Manchester United move top of the Women’s Super League after crushing an in-form Aston Villa 5-0 in front of more than 30,000 fans at Old Trafford.

Katie Zelem (13), Leah Galton (28), Alessia Russo (50), Ona Batlle (77) and Rachel Williams (90) sealed an impressive win for the home side, who ran riot in front of a bumper crowd.

Marc Skinner named an unchanged side from the last gasp victory over Arsenal a fortnight ago, while Carla Ward gave Freya Gregory the nod to replace the ineligible Kirsty Hanson.

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Man United run riot at Old Trafford

A quiet opening period saw the first real opportunity fall to the away side when Alisha Lehmann broke for Villa/ However, her pass to Daly was badly misplaced.

The home side opened the scoring moments later when Zelem appeared at the back post to smash home after Hannah Hampton fumbled a dangerous Batlle cross.

United deservedly doubled their lead just before the half hour mark. Great hold up play from Russo allowed Ella Toone to thread in Galton, who finished superbly.

A flowing Villa move 10 minutes from half time forced Mary Earps into a good save from Gregory’s shot. Lehmann tapped home from close range just before half-time but it was ruled offside.

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The game was put to bed shortly after the break when Batlle’s excellent ball to Toone allowed her to cross for Russo. The forward tapped home to score the goal her performance thoroughly deserved.

Good pressing from Lehmann almost handed Villa an unlikely route back into the game. She pinched the ball from Zelem deep in the United half, but Earps easily gathered the shot.

Substitute Martha Thomas went close with 20 minutes left on the clock when she connected superbly with Galton’s cross-shot. Alhough Hampton was equal to it and palmed away.

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United’s fourth, and arguably best goal of the afternoon came when the outstanding Batlle cannoned a fierce shot beyond Hampton. Substitute Rachel Williams then tapped home with almost the last kick of the game to cap off a memorable afternoon.

The win pushes Skinner’s side into first temporarily, with both Arsenal and Chelsea playing later this afternoon.

Man United: Earps, Batlle, Turner, Le Tissier, Blundell, Zelem, Ladd, Toone (Williams 85), Galton (Boe Risa 85), Parris (Thomas 62), Russo (Garcia 77).

Villa: Hampton, Maylin, Patten, Turner, Pacheco, Brown, Corsie, Dali, Daly, Lehmann, Gregory (Gilenik 58).

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