Unai Emery returns to the EPL with a bang as Aston Villa stroll to 3-1 win over Manchester United

Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Unai_Emery_-_Sevilla.jpg

Aston Villa started life under new manager Unai Emery with a convincing 3-1 win over Manchester United at Villa Park last Sunday (6 November).

The Spanish manager took over from Steven Gerrard in the Villans dugout, and his impact was immediate as the players were in their element from the first whistle, with Leon Bailey putting the hosts into the lead after seven minutes with a strike Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea could not stop.

Things got worse for the Red Devils four minutes later as Lucas Digne’s free-kick went above the wall and sailed into the net, sending the home fans into a frenzy.

Emiliano Martinez managed to keep out brilliant efforts from Alejandro Garnacho and Cristiano Ronaldo as Erik ten Hag‘s men attempted to get back into the game, but the Villa goalie was helpless when Luke Shaw’s effort deflected off Jacob Ramsey into his net on the stroke of half-time.

The Midlands side immediately raced into action when the second-half started, with Bailey shooting straight at De Gea just a few seconds after play restarted.

Villa continued to push for another goal in order to restore their two-goal advantage, and that happened four minutes later as Ollie Watkins continued to trouble the Man Utd defence before eventually playing a fine pass into the path of the unmarked Ramsey.

The 21-year-old found the roof of the top corner, and there was just no coming back for the Red Devils afterwards as Aston Villa defended well, with Martinez having almost nothing to do in goal for the rest of the game.

The hosts were a different side under their new boss, playing arguably their best game of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign to secure their fourth win and move to 13th in the table.

They have lost seven games and drawn the other three, and they will be hoping to get another win when they visit Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday (13 November) for the last league game before the World Cup break.

Prior to that, Man Utd will be hosting Villa in the third round of the League Cup on Thursday (10 November), and revenge will surely be on their mind after last weekend’s embarrassing defeat.

The Theatre of Dreams outfit are fifth in the Premier League table after seven wins, two draws and four losses, and they travel to Fulham on Sunday for their next league clash.

A win will surely come in handy as their pursuit of a top-four finish continues, but the Craven Cottage outfit have been in fine form since returning to the top-flight, with five wins, four draws and five defeats to their name, and Man Utd will need to be on top of their game to bag all three points.

Ten Hag’s side have not been consistent this term, and that could prove to be their undoing in their bid to win silverware and finish in the top-four.

They will be meeting Barcelona in the last-32 of the Europa League in February 2023, and failure to advance will not do them any good.

The January transfer window could come in handy as adding a couple of quality players would surely do them a world of good in the second half of the campaign.

Man Utd have scored just 18 league goals this season – the same as Manchester City striker Erling Haaland – and they simply have to get better in front of goal if they want to make meaning out of this campaign.