PL Collection: United’s best games v Aston Villa
With the 2022/23 fixtures being released on 16 June, we're continuing to delve into the Premier League Collection on ManUtd.com and the United App to show you extended highlights of some classic games against one of next season’s opponents - Aston Villa are next up.
The Midlanders were one of the founders of the Football League in 1888, and were part of the first Premier League in 1992.
In fact, Villa finished runners-up to United in the inaugural season of the new division, and both sides feature on the five-club list of English teams to have won the European Cup.
Since returning to the Premier League in 2019, Villa have become a formidable side once more and caused difficulties for the Reds last term. Managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, encounters between the Villans and United look set to return to the feisty and competitive bouts on display in the early ‘90s.
In the first video we have selected, left-sided player Lee Sharpe proves to be the difference-maker, scoring twice as United narrowly defeat the Midlands side in their own backyard on our way to a second consecutive Premier League title.
VILLA 1 UNITED 2 (1993/94)
In only the fourth fixture of the second-ever Premier League season, United laid down a marker against Villa, who had finished runners-up the year prior. Sharpe struck early in the clash and added a second after the break to seal the points for Alex Ferguson’s enterprising side. Dalian Atkinson’s powerful equaliser just before half-time set up a tense second period - in which both Ryan Giggs and Kevin Richardson struck the woodwork - but Sharpe’s cool finish on 74 minutes was enough to extend United’s unbeaten start to the season.
VILLA 0 UNITED 3 (2006/07)
While Cristiano Ronaldo notched a brace in this dominant United win, this fixture will always be remembered for Paul Scholes’s volley. Just six minutes after Ronaldo’s 58th-minute opener, Scholes unleashed an unstoppable shot from well outside the box which flew beyond Gabor Kiraly into the back of the net, via the underside of the crossbar. Ronaldo added to his and United’s tally with just five minutes to go, sealing an important victory away at Villa Park which kept the Reds top of the Premier League table, two points above Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
UNITED 3 VILLA 2 (2008/09)
Another game that has an iconic goal attached, the Reds’ 3-2 victory over Villa at Old Trafford in 2009 will always be remembered for Federico Macheda’s sublime injury-time winner. Title rivals Liverpool had won the day before, so United went into this fixture against the Villans needing to win. With 10 minutes to go, the visitors held a 2-1 lead, thanks to two goals from John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor overturning Ronaldo’s 14th-minute free-kick. The Portugal attacker struck a vital leveller on 80 minutes from outside the box, setting up an incredible finale. With the game looking to be slipping away from the Reds in the dying moments, substitute Macheda expertly turned and curled into the far corner, sending Old Trafford into pandemonium.
UNITED 3 VILLA 0 (2012/13)
The final match we have selected is a special one, as it is the win that sealed United’s 20th league title, in what was Sir Alex’s last season before he retired. The stage was set for the Monday night clash under the lights at Old Trafford, and Robin van Persie did not disappoint. The Dutchman blew away Paul Lambert’s side before half-time, notching an impressive hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt. Van Persie’s second goal was nothing short of stunning. The striker watched Wayne Rooney’s raking pass over his shoulder to volley past Brad Guzan from outside the box. This victory wrapped up the title with four games to spare and ensured that Ferguson’s reign at United ended with his 13th Premier League title win.
UNITED v VILLA: PL RECORD
Games played: 54
United wins: 37
Villa wins: 4
United goals: 99
Villa goals: 34
Top scorer: Wayne Rooney (13)