Man United 3-1 Aston Villa: Whose record is Rooney reeling in?
The only surprise from the first half was that the home side didn't score earlier. With Villa effectively blocking the central area in front of their goal, United went wide – and as has been so often the case, Ashley Young was a key catalyst down the left, with the "undroppable" Marouane Fellaini frequently the target.
With United almost permanently pressing down the left and Villa right-back Alan Hutton hobbling toward half-time, the pressure inevitably told two minutes before the break when Young released Daley Blind down the port flank, and the Dutchman's cross was turned calmly into the far corner by Ander Herrera.
The half-time tallies told a tale: the home side had racked up 74% possession, completed 319 passes to Villa's 95 and outshot their visitors 10-2.
Villa attempted to come back into the game after the break, but United maintained majority possession and rarely looked flustered. With 12 minutes to go, Young's replacement Angel Di Maria found Wayne Rooney in the box, and the England striker expertly controlled with his left, swivelled and hammered in a half-volley with his right – a stunning goal giving Di Maria his 10th league assist of the season.
If that allowed Louis van Gaal to relax in his seat, he was bolt upright again within two minutes as Christian Benteke converted a cute corner-kick routine that David de Gea won't be rushing to add to his clip-reel.
That could have cause a close finish but Villa were tired – five different home players enjoyed more than 100 touches – and Rooney released Juan Mata down the right to set up his compatriot Herrera for the stoppage-time clincher.
Wayne Rooney has scored more Premier League goals against Aston Villa (13) than against any other opponent.
Rooney has scored 9 in his last 7 league games against the Villans at Old Trafford.
Juan Mata has scored 2 and assisted 1 in his last 2 league appearances.
The Red Devils have won more games against Aston Villa (32) than any side has against a single opponent in Premier League history.
Aston Villa have won just 1 of the last 39 league games against Manchester United (D10 L28).
Wayne Rooney has now scored 96 goals at Old Trafford, just one behind Alan Shearer in second place for most goals at a single venue (97 at St James' Park). Thierry Henry leads the way with 114 at Highbury.
The Red Devils have won 13 of their last 15 league matches at Old Trafford (D1 L1).
Angel Di Maria became the second Premier League player this season to reach 10 assists (Cesc Fabregas has 16).