Ten-man Aston Villa ended Manchester United’s six-game winning run with a hard-earned draw at Villa Park.
United dominated possession but fell behind to Christian Benteke’s superb left-foot strike before Radamel Falcao headed them level after the break.
Gabriel Agbonlahor was dismissed for a heavy tackle on Ashley Young, prompting United pressure and Michael Carrick’s header was cleared off the line. They could not force a winner and sit seven points behind leaders Chelsea.
The Blues could extend that lead if they win their game in hand at Stoke on Monday and United will look back at a timid first-half display as costly.
Villa’s record is abysmal against the Red Devils, with just one win in 38 league outings and they will look to a smart David De Gea save from Benteke’s early second-half header as a pivotal moment.
From there on, United – operating a 3-4-3 system with Wayne Rooney in midfield – looked more probing and after Juan Mata and Robin van Persie were denied by keeper Brad Guzan, Falcao broke through.
His second goal for United arrived on his fourth league start and his header from Young’s cross showcased the predator-like finishing he became so sought after for at Atletico Madrid.
In addition to earning a point, he completed 93% of his passes on the day and played a full 90 minutes for the first time but could not serve up a winner.
Aston Villa (Benteke 18’)
Man Utd (Falcao 53’)