Unai Emery led Aston Villa to their first Premier League home victory over Manchester United since 1995, defeating Erik ten Hag’s team 3-1 at Villa Park.
Villa’s Leon Bailey scored in the seventh minute, and when Lucas Digne curled in a free-kick not long after, there were wild celebrations among the home fans. Just before the break, Luke Shaw’s deflected strike off Jacob Ramsey gave United hope – but only for a short time.
Ramsey’s fine finish from Ollie Watkins’ cutback quickly ended the comeback, which Villa deserved.
This historic victory gives them back-to-back Premier League home wins for the first time this season or last, moving them up to 13th in the table.
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With Cristiano Ronaldo as captain, United looked as disjointed as they had since the Manchester derby. The defeat ends their nine-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and means they squandered an opportunity to close the gap on the top four.
There was a raucous atmosphere before the game as fans welcomed new manager Emery, and the team responded with an explosive start that proved too much for United. Ramsey was at the heart of the action, playing in Bailey, who fired the ball past David de Gea for the opening goal.
As Aston Villa kept up the pressure, Ramsey won a free-kick, which Digne superbly struck into the top-right corner, sending the Holte End into delirium. It was proof of their ferocity, but also of their tactical superiority, as they pushed United around and played out from the back.
Ten Hag’s team has been much improved but he would have been concerned by what he saw here in the absence of Bruno Fernandes through suspension. Donny van de Beek did not take his chance.
Alejandro Garnacho struggled in his Premier League debut.
The decision to make Ronaldo captain will also draw attention, though the veteran could have marked the occasion with a goal had Emiliano Martinez not saved his header with his feet. United did, however, score a goal before halftime.
It was a lucky one because the ball ricocheted off Ramsey after Shaw’s hopeful shot, but it did change the mood a little. It could have been the lifeline United needed. They blew it, with Ramsey restoring a two-goal lead early in the second half.
“I was dreaming it, and I am so happy,” said the new Villa head coach afterwards.
He also added, “My challenge here is to be consistent. Today, I think it was so important to beat Manchester United after so long. Now it is about keeping consistent. Our next challenge is to keep the regularity in those matches away.”