FA Barclays Premiership
Villa Park, 23 December 2006
ASTON VILLA 0
MANCHESTER UNITED 3
Ronaldo (58, 85), Scholes (64)
Report: Villa 0 United 3
Two clinical finishes by Cristiano Ronaldo, including the 2,000th goal of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, saw United return to winning ways on one of their favourite away grounds.
However, even the brilliant winger was upstaged by the Reds' other effort - an absolute screamer from Paul Scholes, so reminiscent of his famous strike against Bradford almost seven years ago.
All three goals were scored in the second half as the Reds stepped up from a worrying first 45 to claim their eighth winning visit to Villa Park in a row.
Cristiano Ronaldo signalled his intent early in the first half when he ran at Villa's rearguard from the halfway line and forced a corner as young centre-back Gary Cahill slid in to block the shot. The first corner was earned moments earlier by Ji-sung Park, making his 50th appearance for the Reds and his first start since the August win at Charlton. The Korean later had a goalscoring opportunity carved out for him by Fletcher and Neville but sadly he dragged his effort wide with insufficient contact on the ball.
The quality of Gareth Barry's setpieces posed a reasonable threat to United. Scholes fouled Petrov in a seemingly harmless area of the pitch, but when the Villa skipper's free-kick was nodded on, it gave Craig Gardner the chance to head the ball against van der Sar's left-hand post. The United keeper reacted well to prevent the rebound off Davis creeping over the line.