Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba sealed the three points for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, as Villa struggled to lay a glove on the visitors.
United broke the deadlock in the first half when Fernandes won a penalty following a clash with Villa defender Ezri Konsa.
The Portugal midfielder received a pass on the edge of Villa’s area and spun when Konsa challenged for the ball.
Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot and a VAR review appeared to show Fernandes catching Konsa with his trailing leg first.
However, the referee’s decision stood and Fernandes duly dispatched the spot kick to give United the lead.
Former United defender Patrice Evra did not feel the penalty should have stood as Fernandes’ momentum took him into the defender.
“My opinion is it is not a penalty,” he told Sky Sports at half time. “The defender is being a little bit clumsy because of his right leg he is trying to stop Bruno.
“I just feel like Bruno Fernandes went to his leg and he gave the penalty.
“If you look at the replay Bruno Fernandes stopped the ball and went into his leg but it was too late. I think it shouldn’t be a penalty.”
Rival supporters took to social media to question why the penalty was given when Fernandes appeared to stand on Konsa’s leg.
The result means United are just a point behind fourth placed Leicester, as the race for a top four spot intensifies.
Next up, the Red Devils host Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday evening, whilst Chelsea travel to Sheffield United on Saturday.
Tottenham take on Arsenal in the north London derby, whilst Wolves play Everton at Molineux. Leicester travel to struggling Bournemouth.