Danny Welbeck’s first-half goal blitz silenced Villa as Manchester United cruised to a comfortable victory.
The England striker struck twice in three minutes to ease the pressure on David Moyes after back-to-back Premier League defeats.
Tom Cleverley ended the game with a third seven minutes after the break as Villa were outclassed by the champions.
They could have gone level on points with United with a win but United still have not lost in the Premier League at Villa Park since 1995.
Gabby Agbonlahor also collected his fifth booking of the season and is now suspended for Saturday’s trip to Stoke.
The hosts started well after Matt Lowton, Antonio Luna, Yacouba Sylla and Marc Albrighton were recalled after the disappointing 2-0 defeat at Fulham.
Karim El Ahmadi shot at David De Gea before the keeper saved Albrighton’s low effort as Villa rattled United.
The champions were disjointed, lacking any real punch or panache going forward as the hosts contained them with a degree of comfort – until they were shocked on 16 minutes.
There had been little threat from United but they opened the scoring with their first serious attack when Adnan Januzaj hit the post from Rafael’s excellent cross and Welbeck crashed in the rebound.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 when Nathan Baker lost possession and when the ball found Valencia, his low cross was turned in by Welbeck.
The devastating double blow rocked Villa and ended the game as a contest as they failed to fight back.
Wayne Rooney dragged a shot wide and Welbeck came close to his hat-trick just after the half hour when he rolled past the far post following Valencia’s clever ball.
United were dominant with Villa Park silenced and, seven minutes after the break, Cleverley made it 3-0 when he raced onto Rooney’s pass to net after Luna had given the ball away.
Albrighton’s volley was palmed away by De Gea after a United mix-up in defence and El Ahmadi’s free kick 15 minutes from time was saved.
But United were in cruise control and Welbeck chipped over as Villa surrendered.