The visitors enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half and deservedly took the lead on eight minutes courtesy of Bruno Fernandes’s free-kick which Emiliano Martinez let slip through his grasp.
The midfielder then grabbed a second after the break, although it was the Villans who were on top by that stage.
Philippe Coutinho came off the bench in the second period to revive Steven Gerrard’s men - and he set up the first, which was tucked home by Jacob Ramsey.
The debutant then grabbed a dramatic equaliser in the 82nd minute, meaning the points were split in the West Midlands.
Manchester United player ratings
David De Gea- 7
Pulled off a great reaction save to deny Emiliano Buendia’s 36-minute header and stopped efforts from Ollie Watkins and Lucas Digne in the first half. The Spaniard was on hand again to keep out Jacob Ramsey and Buendia in the second half, and he couldn’t have done anything about either Villa goal.
Diogo Dalot- 5
Both Villa goals came down his side and there are still questions to be asked about him defensively. Dalot also didn’t contribute as much going forward as we’re used to.
Victor Lindelof- 7
The centre-back was selected above Harry Maguire and justified that decision with an impressive performance. He dealt well with any crosses put into the area and his excellent slide tackle denied Matty Cash a clear-cut chance on 50 minutes.
Raphael Varane- 6
Looked composed and calm on the ball and mainly dealt with Watkins’s runs. In the air, Varane was rarely beaten.
Alex Telles- 6
Provided the assist for Fernandes’s first goal and saw a good free-kick saved on 28 minutes. Overall it was a solid offensive showing from the Brazilian, but he looked less assured defensively.
Nemanja Matic- 6
Covered a lot of ground in the first half and cut out several United passes by mopping up in front of the back four, but he struggled with Villa’s direct dribbling after the break. Both Villa goals came from midfield runners bypassing the former Chelsea man.
Pressed well throughout the evening, and set up the second goal with his tireless work. However, he displayed a few customary misplaced passes at Villa Park.
Mason Greenwood- 7 (off 89)
Looked dangerous all night cutting in on his favoured left foot and he shot just wide after 28 minutes, and again on the hour mark. The winger’s direct dribbling caused Lucas Digne real issues on his debut.
Bruno Fernandes- 8 (off 89)
Playing from a slightly deeper area, Fernandes made United more compact and also helped the team maintain possession in the first half. The No.18 pulled the strings from the centre in the opening 45 minutes and he provided the game’s first goal after just six minutes before smashing in a great strike on the break in the second half. The Portugal international was our Man of the Match.
Anthony Elanga- 7 (off 78)
The youngster was superb in just his second-ever Premier League start and he forced Martinez into a good save minutes after the restart, while also shooting wide twice in the first 45. Elanga was less threatening in the second half and found it difficult to stop Cash advancing.
Edinson Cavani- 5
Had a quieter night than we’re used to seeing, but worked hard out of possession and dropped back into midfield at times to stop Villa attacks.
Jadon Sancho (on 78), Jesse Lingard (on 89), Donny van de Beek (on 89)
Aston Villa player ratings
Martinez 5; Cash 6, Konsa 6 (Hause 46; 6), Mings 6, Digne 6; Luiz 6, Sanson 5 (Coutinho 68; 7), Ramsey 6; Watkins 7, Ings 5 (Chukwuemeka 76), Buendia 7.