Inspired by Phil Jones scoring his first goal for Manchester United at Villa Park last season, we recall five Reds who opened their league accounts against the Villans…
Andy Cole, United 1-0 Villa, 4 February 1995
Cole alleviated the burden of his £7million transfer from Newcastle in January 1995 with a close-range volley against Villa in his third Reds appearance. Cole looked so excited that he vaguely resembled a jack-in-the-box after being collared by Paul Ince and mobbed by his new team-mates.
David Beckham, Villa 3-1 United, 19 August 1995
Beckham had already scored for United against Galatasaray in the Champions League during the previous season, but his first league goal - albeit as a consolation effort a 3-1 defeat at Villa Park - was a beautiful strike into the top corner displaying his trademark technique even at the tender age of 20.
Diego Forlan, United 1-1 Villa, 26 October 2002
The Uruguayan would verify his quality in La Liga, it just didn’t work out at United. His first Reds goal, against Maccabi Haifa in Europe, came in his 27th appearance, while his first league goal arrived 35 games in. The relief was palpable - for fans and player alike - as Diego's header arced past Peter Enckelman. In his excitement, Forlan found a new challenge, getting his shirt back on…
Federico Macheda, United 3-2 Villa, 5 April 2009
Few so young have the innate understanding of United’s penchant for last-gasp drama. Scrapping with Liverpool for the title in 2009, the Reds trailed Villa 2-1 in the run-in when 17-year-old substitute Federico Macheda emerged from the bench. Cristiano Ronaldo levelled with ten minutes to go, but Kiko’s winner was a moment of delirium United seem so capable of creating.
Phil Jones, Villa 0-1 United, 3 December 2011
Not only was this Jones' first United goal, it was his first in professional football. His close-range finish from Nani’s cross contained all the thumping power you would expect from the no-nonsense defender. He scored again four days later against Basel.