The Belgium international opened the scoring in the first half with a goal that was enough for the Red Devils to extend their winning record at Villa Park
Adnan Januzaj showed why Louis van Gaal insisted he is not for sale by scoring on his first start since February as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the Premier League.
United manager Van Gaal this week ruled allowing Januzaj to leave Old Trafford amid reported interest from Sunderland and the Belgium international repaid the Dutchman for putting his faith in him at Villa Park.
Januzaj showed great skill and composure to score his first Premier League goal since April 2014 and ensure United made it two wins out of two in the league on Friday.
United goalkeeper Sergio Romero was rarely troubled as he kept a second consecutive clean sheet, as David de Gea was once again not involved as speculation over a move to Real Madrid continues.
In a game brought forward at the request of West Midlands Police, with a march in Walsall on Saturday, Villa lacked a cutting edge as their wait for a first home league win over United since 1995 goes on.
It was another unconvincing but ultimately successful Manchester United display at Villa Park. Louis van Gaal admitted he was happy with the first half an hour but with little else, and you can see why.
Aston Villa carried little threat, and that was partly down to United’s sturdy defending but also there is a clear lack of cohesion in Tim Sherwood’s side at the moment. The same can be said of their opponents.
With Memphis Depay and Wayne Rooney off the boil, the match remained in the balance until the end when really United should have had it easily won. There is plenty still for United to fix on this display, but six points out of six suggests they’re not a million miles away from the finished product.Villa manager Tim Sherwood named an unchanged starting line-up, meaning Rudy Gestede had to settle for a place on the bench despite scoring the winner at Bournemouth last Saturday.
Januzaj was recalled at the expense of former Villa winger Ashley Young in the only change to the United team following the victory over Tottenham.
Two of United’s new signings combined for their first goalscoring opportunity of the night, with Memphis Depay whipping in a free-kick that Morgan Schneiderlin could only head wide.
Depay was then denied by Brad Guzan when the alert Villa goalkeeper raced out to avert the danger with a sliding tackle as the Netherlands international raced clear.
United were in front 29 minutes in, though, as Januzaj latched onto a brilliant pass from Juan Mata and cut inside Micah Richards before finding the far corner of the net with a shot that deflected off Ciaran Clark.
It was no more than United deserved, with Villa showing plenty of endeavour without looking threatening in the first half.
Jordan Ayew had half a chance to equalise just after half-time but fired high over the crossbar, before Jordan Amavi surged down the left and drilled over a cross that evaded everyone as Villa raised the tempo.
Gestede replaced Scott Sinclair before the hour mark, while Van Gaal sent on Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera in place of Michael Carrick and Januzaj.
Depay should have opened his league account 18 minutes from time when Mata once again opened up the Villa defence with a fine pass, but the Netherlands international shot wide with only Guzan to beat.
Villa’s latest signing Adama Traore – recruited from Barcelona earlier in the day – watched on from the stands as his new team-mates ran out of ideas and United made it back-to-back 1-0 victories.