Unai Emery marked his return to English football in style as Aston Villa beat Manchester United 3-1 at Villa Park in the Premier League on Sunday.
The hosts needed just seven minutes to take the lead, Leon Bailey firing home, with Lucas Digne then dispatching a free-kick shortly after to leave Villa in control.
United, for whom Cristiano Ronaldo was captain, pulled one back in the first half, Jacob Ramsey directing Luke Shaw's effort from distance into his own net, but he then scored at the right end shortly after the restart.
Erik ten Hag's side could not find a response, with Villa's defence never truly tested on what was another frustrating day for United.
Emery's return to the Premier League began in ideal fashion, Ramsey feeding a pass through to Bailey who showed his pace to find space away from Lisandro Martinez before sending his shot into the bottom-right corner.
The home side doubled their lead four minutes later as Lucas Digne expertly converted a free-kick from just outside the area to leave David de Gea with no chance and send Villa Park into pandemonium.
United reduced the deficit before the interval, Shaw letting loose from distance and the strike taking a wicked deflection off Ramsey.
Villa restored their two-goal lead three minutes into the second half, Ollie Watkins driving forward and laying off a pass to Ramsey, who arrived inside the box to fire a fierce effort into the roof of the net.
United failed to threaten a revival and suffered their fourth defeat of the season and first since the start of October.
What does it mean? Villa end records
United travelled to Villa Park unbeaten in their past 23 Premier League away matches against Villa (W15 D8), stretching back to the 1995-96 season, which stood as the longest such run of any side against another in English League history.
Add in the fact that the past nine managers who had their first game at a club come against United suffered a loss, it left Emery's side as underdogs – though that never looked to be the case, with Villa on top from the first minute to the last.
Ronaldo struggles continue
Ronaldo continues to attract the headlines and was handed the captain's armband against Villa despite his high-profile walkout as an unused substitute before the full-time whistle at Tottenham. However, he made little difference. Ronaldo had just 25 touches, the second lowest of any starting player behind only Donny Van de Beek (18), who was subbed off after 65 minutes.
United woes on the road
Defeat at Villa Park marked United's ninth loss away from home in the Premier League in 2022, the most defeats they have suffered in a calendar year since 1989 (12), and their third this season after losses at Brentford and Manchester City.
Key Opta Facts
- Aston Villa earned their first Premier League win over Manchester United at Villa Park since August 1995, when they won 3-1 under Brian Little.
- Manchester United have lost nine away games in the Premier League in 2022 – they most defeats they have suffered in a calendar year since 1989 (12).
- Aston Villa boss Unai Emery is just the fourth manager to win his first Premier League game in charge of a team against Manchester United, after Dave Bassett with Sheffield United (1992), JosE Mourinho with Chelsea (2004) and Alan Curbishley with West Ham (2006).
- Manchester United were 2-0 down after just 11 minutes in this match; the earliest they had trailed by this scoreline in a Premier League match since October 2018 versus Newcastle United (10th minute).
The two sides meet again at Old Trafford on Thursday in the EFL Cup, with United then travelling to Fulham and Villa on the road against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.