Unai Emery led Aston Villa to beat Manchester United 3-1 at Villa Park as the new Manager records his first win after returning to the Premier League.
The Manchester United curse of Villa Park is lifted, and the Unai Emery era has begun, 27 years after that famous quote from Alan Hansen.
After United’s last league loss at this illustrious old stadium in 1995, Hansen famously declared, “You can’t win anything with youngsters,” and here was a new head coach from Aston Villa making an equally impressive declaration of determination.
Emery will love reflecting on this collective performance, which was bursting with vigor, pace, and menace. Emery once watched United 17 times in preparation for a game.
Erik ten Hag’s five-match winning streak in the Premier League came to an abrupt end as United was completely destroyed by a Villa team that was obviously out to leave an immediate impression.
This was a challenging afternoon for Manchester United, who were missing suspended player Bruno Fernandes and were captained by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Many of their fans had already left the stadium before the game was over due to the club’s poor performance away from home.
Ten Hag must be very disappointed on how his team performed earlier today, but United will have an immediate chance to avenge themselves when they play Villa in the Carabao Cup on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Emery, who has faced them four times in English football, was excited throughout the entire afternoon.
The home team put up numerous standout performances, led by Ollie Watkins, Jacob Ramsey, and Leon Bailey, who was a persistent threat.
The star acquisition made by Emery’s predecessor Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho, was not even included in the squad.
It only took seven minutes for the Emery revolution to get going.
Running onto Ramsey’s pass, Bailey scored a fantastic goal by beating David de Gea with a low strike into the far corner.
Since moving from Bayer Leverkusen for £25 million, Bailey has shown signs of potential, but he now has a manager who can maximize his undeniable skill.
The noise exploded once more at Villa Park four minutes later. Lucas Digne scored this time after bending in an excellent free kick from 25 yards away.
The ferocity and quickness of the home squad appeared to have taken United off guard as they were all over the place.
It was an odd United XI with Donny van de Beek making his first league start for the team since last November because Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, and Anthony were all out.
In this game, Manchester United trailed 2-0 after just 11 minutes, the earliest they had fallen down by this score in a Premier League game since October 2018 against Newcastle (10th minute).
Unai Emery, the head coach of Aston Villa, is just the fourth coach to defeat Manchester United in his first Premier League game in charge, joining Dave Bassett with Sheffield United in 1992, José Mourinho with Chelsea in 2004, and Alan Curbishley with West Ham (2006).
In fact, before Emery, all nine of the managers who faced the Red Devils in their inaugural Premier League game all suffered defeats.
Manchester United has experienced their most defeats (12) in a calendar year since 1989 after losing nine away games in the Premier League in 2022.
Since a 3-1 victory under Brian Little in August 1995, Aston Villa defeated Manchester United in the Premier League at Villa Park.
The longest unbeaten away streak against another team in English league history belonged to the Red Devils until today. They were unbeaten in 23 away league games at Villa.