Philippe Coutinho inspires Aston Villa return in Manchester United draw

Fabulous deputy Philippe Coutinho made a comeback at Aston Villa as Steven Gerrard’s men returned to claim a 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester United.

Starting the week with a few surprise victories entering the third round of the FA Cup, Ralph Rangnik’s team looked forward to another hard-fought victory against Villa on Saturday evening.

A howler from Emiliano Martinez gifted an opening opener to Bruno Fernandes and the stand-in captain fired United further at Villa Park, only to spark a fight for the introduction of new guy Coutinho.

The former Liverpool star was involved in the build-up to Jacob Ramsey’s scintillating strike, with the 20-year-old academy graduate then leveling in front of Holte End in his Villa debut to indebted Barcelona.

It was a wild end to a thrilling, helter-skelter encounter that United began impressively, yet failed to build on Fernandes’ 25-yard opener as Villa grew in confidence and David de Gea tested frequently. started doing

Fernandes won it when he drove home from under the crossbar, but marquee Jan’s signature Coutinho helped turn things around on a night when fellow new guy Lucas Digne was also impressed.

Villa Park was shaking its foundations towards the end of the game, but the start of the match was silenced by Fernandes.

Morgan Sanson – for suspended John McGinn – was selected to foul Alex Telles, who decided to swing into the free-kick and played low to Fernandes instead.

The Portuguese continued to strike with hopes of a long distance, which caught Martinez, who was caught by Edinson Cavani, and the ball went off his feet.

United continued on the front foot against the shell-shocked hosts.

Anthony Elanga, the 19-year-old, who made his first league debut of the season, rose well to lead a Fred Cross and Martinez stretches himself to block a drilled Mason Greenwood strike.

Tails and Greenwood had further attempts as Villa saw a shell of the side traveling to United on Monday.


Bruno Fernandes scored in each half for Manchester United (Nick Potts/PA).

It took him 32 minutes to hit one shot. De Gea handled that effort from Ollie Watkins comfortably, but he had to be in the right place at the right time when United’s soft underbelly from set pieces threatened to cost him again.

Digne fired a corner that Emiliano Buendia was easily able to meet with a near-post header, which the Spaniard crossed before he refused Digne to his knees.

Courteney Hauz replaced the injured Azri Konsa in the center of Villa’s defense when the teams emerged from half-time, with Fernandes booked and Elanga testing Martinez within 80 seconds of the restart.

Ramsey forced De Gea’s save as Gerrard’s men pushed for a leveler, with Buendia and Digne trying against an increasingly ragged United.

Rangnik had begun to show his dismay at the touchline, but his youth came twice as close to extending their lead.

Matty Cash was breathing a sigh of relief when Elanga drove wide from his fault before Greenwood slid down the right and hit the goal in the face from a sharp angle.

There were indications of Rangnik’s work in the young forward’s performance, so too the move that led United to second place.

The team applied systematically and under pressure Sanson sent an under-hit backpass, which was lapped by Fred, with the midfielder cleverly lying down to strike Fernandes from under the crossbar.

Sansson vented his fury at some touchline water bottles, when replaced directly by Coutinho, making the Brazilian an instant hit.

Tyrone Mings burst into the field and the debutant was involved in complicated build-up play, which ended with the ball going Ramsey’s way to strike in front of Holte End.


Steven Gerrard (right) hugs Philippe Coutinho after the final whistle (Nick Potts/PA)

The youngster had forced De Gea into a save shortly before and his goal set a level expected in the 82nd minute.

Buendia first played through Ramsey to direct a left-footed cross to the far post, where Coutinho went home to lift the roof off old ground.

Coutinho’s attempt at a winner was stopped by De Gea and fellow substitute Donny van de Beek was stopped at the other end as they shared points.

Perhaps the injured Cristiano Ronaldo has something to say about United’s mindset.