Birmingham, England — Unai Emery’s side gave their new manager the best welcome possible as Manchester United suffered a shock 3-1 Premier League defeat against Aston Villa at the lively Villa Park.
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Cristiano Ronaldo led United but Portugal’s forwards could wait as Villa took a quick lead through Leon Bailly and Lucas Digne in the first 11 minutes. Jacob Ramsey reduced the deficit for Erik ten Hag’s side, but he redeemed himself with a fine finish in the 49th minute to give Emery victory in his first game in charge since his appointment last month.
ESPN’s Rob Dawson has reaction and analysis from Villa Park.
Jump to: Player Ratings | Best/worst performance | Highlights and Highlights | Post Match Quotes | Key Stats | Upcoming fixtures
1. Man United show Ten Hag still has a lot of work to do
Just when you think Manchester United are building something under Ten Hag, they put in a terrible performance. Aston Villa won a league game against United at Villa Park for the first time since August 1995 and deservedly so. For the first time, led by new coach Unai Emery, Villa won 3-1, but it could have been more.
United were 2-0 down inside 11 minutes and only came back at half-time thanks to a fluke goal, Luke Shaw’s shot past Emiliano Martinez by Ramsey, and any Villa nerves were soothed by a second goal and a third. half
It’s still early in the Ten Hag’s reign and consistency can’t happen overnight, but a team can look so bad against Brentford but then look so good against Liverpool, beat Arsenal, but collapse at Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are dominating, but Villa’s collapse is still notable.
There are plenty of signs that ten Hagg United are moving in the right direction, but he will be keen to cut out the blips that are becoming semi-regular. With United having a Carabao Cup game against Villa and a Premier League trip to Fulham to come before the World Cup, perhaps the break comes at the right time.
2. Van de Beek uses another of his lives
With Bruno Fernandes suspended, Donny van de Beek was handed his first Premier League start in 701 days, but it could be his last for a while. After an anonymous 45 minutes, he delayed his return for the second half, and it wouldn’t have been a surprise if the Dutchman didn’t come out at all.
He was finally substituted after 65 minutes with United already 3-1 down, and it’s a miracle he lasted that long. He only had 18 touches in just over an hour on the pitch. By comparison, his partners in central midfield, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, had touched the ball more than 50 times when Van de Beek left.
Ten Haag gave van de Beek a chance to start against Real Sociedad and Villa in the space of four days, but he did nothing to suggest he should be in the team when United play Villa again in the Carabao Cup on Thursday. Not selected for Netherlands’ provisional World Cup squad, the midfielder is set for an extended break, but it could be a while before he gets another chance in a United shirt even after the season resumes.
3. Emery makes an immediate impact
Emery couldn’t have asked for more in his first game in charge. Villa were in the bottom three at the start of the game but for the first 30 minutes they played like a team challenging for a top six finish.
With Bailey and Ollie Watkins playing as split attackers, United never got to grips with Emery’s system and were left chasing shadows for much of the first half. The second half started with United on the front foot, but Villa were never troubled after Ramsey scored a superb goal to make it 3-1 after a clinical counter-attack. With more than 10 minutes left to play, she started chanting, “It’s hot, it’s hot, give us a wave.”
Emery’s record — particularly at Sevilla and Villarreal — suggests he can get players to buy into his ways and, if nothing else, Villa played a team with a lot of faith in the plan. Villa have won just 5 of their previous 24 league games and United have lost just one of their last 10, but they are the only team who seem to be playing with confidence and composure.
Aston Villa: Martinez 7, Cash 7, Digne 8, Konsa 7, Mings 7, Luiz 8, Dendoncker 7, Buendia 7, Bailey 8, Ramsey 9, Watkins 7.
Subtitles: McGinn 7, Young 6, Ings 6, Kamara 6, Sanson 6.
Manchester United: De Gea 6, Dallet 6, Shaw 5, Lindelof 4, Martinez 6, Casemiro 5, Eriksen 6, van de Beek 4, Rashford 4, Garnacho 6, Ronaldo 5.
Subtitles: Marshall 5, Malaysia 5, Elanga 5.
Best and worst performance
Best: Jacob Ramsey
He found a lot of space in Emery’s system and made the most of it with a goal and an assist.
Worst: Victor Lindelof
He pulled away from the spot for Villa’s first goal and then let Watkins into the penalty area in the build-up to their third.
Notable Moments and Notable Moments
There was no love lost between Ronaldo and Tyrone Mings when the two tangled in the second half and had to be separated by teammates.
After the match: What the players and managers said
Emery in his reception at Villa Park: “The supporters have given us amazing support and the players have been excellent with the plan. The first step is to start with confidence, energy and the supporters support with their reaction. We have good players. The way we played the 90 minutes gave us optimism. Possible but only the first step and we have a lot of work to do to continue to improve.
Ten Haag on his players crossing towards Ronaldo: “I think it’s stupid to do that because we give the cross too soon, too much pressure and we don’t help him. We have to bring, to give the ball to Cristiano at the right moment. In the pocket in the first half, Christian Eriksen crosses at the right moment to give the ball to Cristiano early, it’s the right moment.
Ten Haag on his players not following his tactics: “Already I have been in football for a long time, they are people; people are not robots. Sometimes it is like that and it is psychological, but it is not acceptable. Don’t get it. I was wrong, we all “You have to be ready for every game, don’t give away easy games. When you start a game like this, you’re going to lose.”
Key Stats (via ESPN Stats & Info)
Ramsey is the fourth player in Premier League history to score a goal, assist and own goal in a single Premier League game, following Gareth Bale (November 2012), Wayne Rooney (October 2012) and Kevin Davies (December 2008).
Aston Villa: Fresh off the back of a big win over Manchester United, Aston Villa take on Unai Emery on his first trip abroad as manager … Manchester United in the Carabao Cup on Thursday. After that, Villa are back on the road at Brighton & Hove Albion next Sunday, before the Premier League rests for the World Cup.
Manchester United: Ten Haag has the chance for immediate revenge against Emery’s Villa at Old Trafford, and he could use the game to make some changes to the squad ahead of the 2022 opener for the Red Devils when they visit Fulham next Sunday.