This was their 36th victory on New Year’s Day and Manchester United are now second on goal difference. Meanwhile, Aston Villa are sixth in the table after their first defeat in six matches.
Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in the second half to earn all three points for the Red Devils and they are level on points with leaders Liverpool.
Manchester United took the lead on the 40th minute after Anthony Martial headed in from a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Aston Villa did well to get back into the game around the hour mark when Bertrand Traore found the net after a cross from Jack Grealish.
Manchester United got back in front once again when Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty after Paul Pogba was brought down by Douglas Luiz.
The home side could have scored more goals but Emiliano Martinez was in excellent form and he made several stunning saves to deny the likes of Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes.
Aston Villa could have easily snatched a point away from the game but Tyrone Mings failed to guide Matty Cash’s late free kick into the Manchester United net.
It will be interesting to see if Manchester United can build on this and climb to the top of the table in the coming weeks now.