Chelsea’s slip at Everton allowed United the chance to go top but they too struggled against feisty opponents, who led through Carlos Cuellar. Ferguson’s men hit back with a James Collins own goal and, despite having Nani dismissed for a two-footed lunge, deserved to win. United now loiter just a point behind leaders Chelsea, and Ferguson said: “We should have won the game. I think we were the better team and with 10 men for a long time.”
Defender Cuellar put Villa in front with a looping header in the 19th minute. Four minutes later, however, United were level when Ryan Giggs, who later suffered an arm injury, fired in off the unwitting Collins.