Fans have praised Aston Villa for their ‘genius’ set piece tactic before scoring against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Unai Emery’s side went 2-0 up at Old Trafford inside 26 minutes through goals from John McGinn and Leander Dendoncker.
The first goal came directly from a McGinn free kick, with VAR clearing the goal despite heavy offside protestations from United players.
Deliberations appeared to center on whether Ollie Watkins, who was in an offside position, got a touch on the ball before it went into the back of the net.
The England forward didn’t, and the goal stood.
But fans spotted another element of the goal that left viewers deceived at first.
Before the free kick was taken, Villa forward Leon Bailey took up a position behind United goalkeeper Andre Onana, and appeared to be shouting in the shot-stopper’s ear before the set piece was taken.
Once McGinn stepped up to strike the ball, Bailey ran back towards his team-mates and well away from the area in which the ball was being delivered, meaning he could not be offside.
What the hell is Leon Bailey doing standing behind Onana like that ? 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/eWOUxeCYjt
— Hammerz Reels (@ReelHammerz) December 26, 2023
And when fans realised what Bailey had done, they could not help but applaud the Villa star, who has five goals and five assists in 16 Premier League appearances this term.
One United fan conceded: “Leon Bailey playing 4D chess, fairs.”
Another fan added: “Leon Bailey should get an assist for his work on Onana.”
A third said: “See what Leon Bailey did there, football IQ 1000000%.”
After going 2-0 up in under half an hour, Villa did have to withstand pressure towards the end of the half, with Marcus Rashford hitting the side netting for the hosts.
Alejandro Garnacho hit the side netting again for United, but was deemed to have been offside in the build-up.
With United heading towards their fourth Premier League defeat in six games – and all without scoring – it’s fair to say that Erik ten Hag has a big half time team talk on his hands at Old Trafford.