Jesse Lingard celebrates after scoring at West Ham

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Wednesday 09 November 2022 09:54

Manchester United and Aston Villa face off for the second time in a matter of days on Thursday, with the Carabao Cup third-round clash following hot on the heels of Sunday's Premier League meeting.

Consecutive United games against the same side in league and cup are a relative rarity. Only nine times previously this century have we played the same opposition across two competitions, without a match in between.

Funnily enough, Aston Villa are repeat offenders, too, although we'll begin our lookback with the first of two occurrences in the 2003/04 season...


A week after a damaging 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage ceded further ground to Arsenal in the title race, United welcomed Chris Coleman’s side to Old Trafford for an FA Cup sixth-round tie. Steed Malbranque’s early penalty threatened to pile further misery on the Reds, but a Ruud van Nistelrooy double enacted a modicum of revenge on the capital club, who had recorded a shock 3-1 victory in M16 the previous October.

Paul Scholes ended Arsenal's Treble hopes in 2004.


That season’s semi-final draw set up another repeat game, as we took on Treble-chasing Arsenal at Villa Park, six days on from a league visit to Highbury which saw Louis Saha strike late to cancel out Thierry Henry’s brilliant opener. The Gunners had reached each of the previous three finals, winning in 2002 and 2003, but Paul Scholes’s 32nd-minute strike was enough to end that run and end any hopes Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ had of matching our historic achievement of 1999.


A Rooney and Ronaldo-inspired United had demolished the Latics 4-0 in Cardiff with a barnstorming League Cup final display, but the Reds were in for a much tougher league follow-up at the JJB Stadium in our next outing. Paul Jewell’s side had taken the top-flight by storm in their first campaign after promotion and deservedly took the lead on the hour through Paul Scharner. Ronaldo equalised but we were heading for a disappointing draw until Saha’s shot rebounded off the bar and ricocheted into the net off Wigan full-back Pascal Chimbonda.


The first of three double-headers with Villa took place in January 2007, with a Premier League game following shortly after an FA Cup third-round tie. Henrik Larsson scored on his debut in the former, before a Milan Baros equaliser, and only a late winner from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secured progress. Another Villa visit to Old Trafford the following weekend was less of a nail-biter, as three goals prior to half-time from Ji-sung Park, Michael Carrick and Ronaldo set up a comfortable victory.


Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season as manager included two crazy encounters in four days at Stamford Bridge. United ended a run of 10 winless league visits to the west London ground on the final Sunday of the month, with Javier Hernandez bundling home the deciding goal in five after the Blues had pegged us back from a 2-0 lead. A League Cup clash on the Wednesday was even barmier, with a much-changed United set to record another 3-2 success until Eden Hazard’s last-gasp penalty took it to extra time. Chelsea then overpowered us in the additional half-hour of play, with the score finishing 5-4.

Chelsea 2 United 3 Video

Chelsea 2 United 3

28 October 2012: A thriller that saw the Reds taste victory at Stamford Bridge for the first time in over a decade...


The Hammers may as well have stayed in the north-west, with just two full days separating league and League Cup visits in late 2016. Zlatan Ibrahimovic denied the Londoners victory on the Sunday after answering Diafra Sakho’s second-minute opener, and the Swede was once again the scourge of Slaven Bilic’s side the following midweek, scoring twice, along with Anthony Martial, as we took an important step on the way to Wembley and eventual glory in the competition.


Two trips to the Amex were required early in the 2020/21 campaign, which was delayed by a month due to the late end of the previous, Covid-disrupted, season. The league meeting with the Seagulls is best remembered for Bruno Fernandes’s match-winning penalty, scored in the 100th minute and, bizarrely, after the final whistle had sounded, due to VAR intervention. Our subsequent Carabao Cup tie proved rather more comfortable, as the Reds ran out 3-0 winners through goals from Scott McTominay, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba.

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 United 3 Video

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 United 3

26 September 2020: A game decided by the very last kick...


Another West Ham double-header proved to be a mixed bag for the Reds. There was late, late drama at the London Stadium as Jesse Lingard’s superb curled effort and David De Gea’s injury-time penalty save from Mark Noble gave us all three points. A much-changed side then fell to a 1-0 Carabao Cup third-round defeat at Old Trafford, with Manuel Lanzini’s early strike the only goal of the game.


Villa have been regular opposition for United in the cups over the years and we also had repeat ties with the Midlanders earlier in 2022 when Steven Gerrard was in charge. A Monday night FA Cup clash at Old Trafford was settled by Scott McTominay’s header and United were in a strong position in the league match five days later, following Bruno's brace. Unfortunately, Villa roared back into the contest and snatched a point, as Philippe Coutinho proved pivotal as a substitute on debut.