Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United: Unai Emery is off to a perfect start as Villa boss

Aston Villa had not beaten Manchester United at home in the league for 27 years

Unai Emery had a dream debut as Aston Villa manager, securing an impressive and deserved victory over Manchester United at Villa Park.

The home side had not beaten United on home soil in the league since 1995, but they were 2-0 up after 11 minutes in this game after a blistering start.

Leon Bailey opened the scoring in the seventh minute when he broke through the defense and arrowed a low shot beyond David de Gea.

Things got even better for Villa three minutes later when Lucas Digne curled in a superb 25-yard free-kick.

Manchester United’s players looked bemused by Villa’s quick start and did not make a significant effort until midway through the first half, when Alejandro Garnacho’s shot from an angle was well saved by Emi Martinez.

Cristiano Ronaldo, named captain for the first time under Erik ten Hag, equalized another fine moment with a header as the away side improved before the break.

A bit of luck scored a goal seconds before half-time, Luke Shaw’s shot took a huge deflection off Jacob Ramsey to land on the stroke of half-time, with Martinez unable to react.

But Ramsey produced the perfect response after the break when he latched on to Ollie Watkins’ ball and pushed a shot beyond De Gea.

There was no comeback for Manchester United after that, as the Villa fans spent the rest of the game celebrating the start of the Emery era.

The win lifted Aston Villa to 13th, three points clear of the relegation zone, while Manchester United remain fifth.

Emery’s immediate impact

Steven Gerrard paid the price for a disappointing start to the season, but Villa wasted no time in bringing in his replacement.

Former Arsenal and Villarreal boss Emery was appointed on October 24 and has been welcomed by Villa fans. There was a positive atmosphere around Villa Park before kick-off, and Emery was loudly cheered as he took his place.

Those joys were almost extinguished when Villa made the best possible start.

Emery’s influence was immediately apparent as his team played with the pace and dynamism that had distinguished Manchester United.

On the touchline, the Spaniard kicked every ball and did not stop giving instructions as he quickly adapted to his new job. If this is a sign of things to come under Villa, it won’t be long before he’s looking over his shoulder.

Ronaldo’s return to captaincy has not gone as planned

Eyebrows were raised before kick-off when Ronaldo was named captain just three weeks after leaving Old Trafford before full-time in the game against Tottenham.

It initially looked like his time at the club was coming to an end, but Ronaldo has gradually been reintroduced by Ten Hag, who challenged the Portugal international to lead by example on Sunday.

Ronaldo didn’t have the impact his manager would have liked, although no Manchester United player was covered in glory in a dreadful start to the game.

The United captain was involved in a tussle with Tyrone Mings in the second half, and his frustration showed when he had the chance to take a free-kick to make it 3-1, but hit the wall.

Then there were pantomime warnings as Ronaldo threw his hands in the air after being penalized for a late foul to complete a day to forget for the veteran striker and Manchester United.

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Manchester United

  1. Group number9Player namemartial
  2. Group number12Player nameMalacia
  3. Group number36Player nameZone

The eleven

Aston Villa

training 4-2-3-1

  • 1MartinezBooked in 88 minutes
  • 2Money
  • 4So
  • 5mixedBooked in 61 minutes
  • 27worth itreplaced bythe young manin 79′minutes
  • 32Dendonckerreplaced bySamsonin 90′minutes
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 31BaileyBooked in 42 minutesreplaced byMcGinnin 70′minutes
  • 41J Ramsey
  • 10Good dayreplaced byIngin 79′minutes
  • 11Watkinsreplaced bythe camerain 78′minutes


  • 7McGinn
  • 8Samson
  • 9Ing
  • 16Chambers
  • 17Augustinsson
  • 18the young man
  • 20by Bednar
  • 25Olsen
  • 44the camera

Manchester United

training 4-2-3-1

  • 1by Gea
  • 20sharingBooked in 72 minutes
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 6Martinez
  • 23ShawBooked in 10 minutesreplaced byMalaciain 65′minutes
  • 18casemiro
  • 14Eriksen
  • 10Rashford
  • 34van de Beekreplaced bymartialin 65′minutes
  • 49grenachereplaced byZonein 65′minutes
  • 7Cristiano RonaldoBooked in 61 minutes


  • 5Maguire
  • 9martial
  • 12Malacia
  • 17Fred
  • 28Pellistri
  • 31Dubravka
  • 36Zone
  • 39McTominay
  • 47on the beach

Anthony Taylor


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