Aston Villa Defeat Man United On A Spectacular Day in the Premier League


There have been very few if any boring Premier League weekends so far this season, and this Saturday was another example of why this is one of the most entertaining leagues in the world. Here are my observations from the Saturday games I’ve watched thus far:

Stoke City v Wigan Athletic

  • When ESPN2 looked at the fixture list and saw Stoke City versus Wigan Athletic on a Saturday morning in December, they probably weren’t too excited just like many of you, the readers. However, the game turned into an extremely entertaining match with goals galore, plenty of controversy (the penalty decision, and the resulting save from Rodallega) and a wonderful climax to the game with Wigan piling on the pressure but unable to get the winner. The game ended 2-2, but what a way to begin the Premier League weekend!

Bolton Wanderers v Manchester City

  • Playing against Bolton Wanderers was never going to be an easy fixture for Manchester City, but a game against such a physical and direct team such as Wanderers was always going to be a perfect test for City to see if they can win the tough games as well as the glamorous ones.
  • The Wanderers versus City game reminded me of the Stoke against Wigan game from earlier in the morning. Lots of goals, lots of controversy and highly entertaining. Bolton’s opening goal was contentious when a deflected pass came into the path of Tamir Cohen who knocked the ball into the goal despite being in an offside position. Should the goal have counted or not? Cohen was obviously offside but does the deflected pass put Cohen onside? With a highly contentious decision like this, I rely on the co-commentator to share his expertise and definitively say whether the goal should have been disallowed or not. However, co-commentator Dean Sturridge seemed as unsure as I was over the rule and gave a half-hearted response about Cohen being in an offside position.
  • Controversy reared its ugly head later in the game when Craig Bellamy was fouled by Paul Robinson but Bellamy received a yellow card from referee Mark Clattenburg for diving. It was Bellamy’s second yellow card in the game, so he was sent off.
  • Overall, what a classic game this was between Bolton and Manchester City. Both teams battled hard. Carlos “Captain Caveman” Tevez, yet again, was exceptional with two brilliant and timely goals. But fair play to Bolton. If they continue playing like this week-in week-out, then they thoroughly deserve to stay in the Premier League and football supporters should get off Gary Megson’s back. For City, it’s another draw but this was a game that they could have easily lost. City should their tough side today by coming back three times after being behind and thoroughly deserved the one point.

Chelsea v Everton

  • Before I began watching the second half the Manchester United versus Aston Villa game, I was able to watch the highlights of the Chelsea against Everton match. And incredibly, this was another match that ended in a pulsating draw. American soccer haters who don’t know any better often are dumbfounded by how games that end in draws can be entertaining. Americans are bred to see winners and losers in their sports, but to me a draw is often more entertaining and pleasing than seeing a win.

Manchester United v Aston Villa

  • The third entertaining match I was fortunate to watch in a row Saturday was Manchester United against Aston Villa. Martin O’Neill’s side have to be commended for going for the jugular against Man United and trying to get all three points. The side consistently floated in tons of dangerous crosses into the middle of the United penalty area to put pressure on the weakened United back four with Wes Brown replacing the position normally held by Rio Ferdinand and/or Jonny Evans, and Fletcher stepping in as right back instead of the usual Gary Neville and/or Rafael Da Silva. And by half-time Villa was deservedly 1-0 ahead after a picture-perfect header from Gabriel Agbonlahor.
  • In the second half, it was quintessential Aston Villa at their best. They defended heroically and threw themselves at every United attempted shot on goal. Plus, they played their typical counter-attacking football which helped Villa ensure there were always enough players back in defense and midfield to prevent United from having clear-cut chances on goal. Whatever you say about Aston Villa, they’re always a hard-working side and never give up. They’re always pressuring the other team as soon as they get the ball and ended up keeping Man United at bay time after time.
  • And let’s not forget about Brad Friedel who didn’t have a lot to do on the day, but when it counted the most, he made an incredible save from Dimitar Berbatov’s goalbound shot near the end of the game.
  • Rather than criticize Manchester United (and yes Wayne Rooney had an off day), the full credit needs to go to the Aston Villa players and manager Martin O’Neill for a textbook performance against a dangerous Manchester United side. When Villa needed to hold up the ball and keep possession, they did. Congratulations on a well-deserved 1-0 win.

What are your thoughts from this incredible day in the Premier League? Were there matches that I missed that also were just as entertaining as the ones mentioned above? Did you think United had a “bad day in the office” or were Villa simply better? Click the comments link below to share your feedback and opinions.

19 thoughts on “Aston Villa Defeat Man United On A Spectacular Day in the Premier League”

  1. The thing about a draw is that it is still a win/loss in the grand scheme of things. Everton “won” by drawing because they got 1 point at the Bridge, something most teams could never hope for. Chelsea “lost” by drawing because they are really going to need those 2 points if they hope to keep on top while Drogba et. al go footballing in the African Cup. This was a great day of matches. One of the main complaints EPL haters often levy is that there is no parity, yet City, Spurs, Chelsea, and United all failed to win today. With that being said, my beloved Reds can really put themselves back in the mix with a victory over Arsenal tomorrow!!!

  2. What a turd of an effort from Wes Brown on the goal. JUMP YOU DOLT!

    We can’t win the title. It’s early but our midfield is horrific and our defense doesn’t know what to do.

    Co-comm for the Bolton/Man City game was Dean Sturridge and not Paul Walsh.

    Paul Walsh was with Steve Banyard for Stoke vs. Wigan.

  3. United look great. I’m much more sanguine about their chances for a four-peat than I was at the start of the season.

  4. I’ve got a serious man crush on Didier Drogba :p I love watching him play. I could do without the *cough* occasional theatrics, but the man can play. I was horribly torn watching Chelsea v. Everton. I wanted Chelsea to win…but as the match wore on, I wanted Howard in the heads of Lampard, Terry and Cole for World Cup purposes.

  5. I have to agree, Gaffer. All three matches I saw today were riveting. Looking forward to tomorrow’s fireworks at Anfield. Come on you Reds!

    We get the bonus of Tuesday and Wednesday matches this week – let’s see if they can surpass the excitement of this weekend.

  6. Yes, I too wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when I saw the Wigan v Stoke fixture, and honestly, if it wasn’t in HD, I would have slept in, I’m glad that I didn’t — great match.

    Credit to Villa. They’re starting to show flashes of their glory days. I was impressed by Downing’s sharpness and pace. England would be the better for it in the summer if he keeps it up.

  7. It was very depressing to see a football match that had the potential to be a multi goal thriller and a real battle for posession and struggle to get the upper hand turn into a “lets score a goal against a weakened defense and then all stand next to the goal keeper”.

    When you consider Aston Villa haven’t won at Old Trafford for 26 years and haven’t beaten United since 1995 it’s pretty sad they played the way they did taking advantage of a broken defensive line up and then sitting behind the ball for the rest of the match.

    I won’t hesitate to say I am looking forward to a full strength United humiliating Aston Villa as usual when they next play due to their anti-football tactics.

    1. Sad? Playing tactically smart is sad?

      A team like Aston Villa (who, by the way, have much less resources than United) can play any damn way they want against a better United side.

      There was not much wrong with their attack – with the likes of Rooney, Owen, and Berba on the field they should be able to break down Villa despite 12 behind the ball.

    2. HAHAAA U crack me up !!!

      united were humiliated on both the flanks by Young and Downing , with great counter attack and curling crosses. Generally a very good team is able to score even if the other side is sitting on their side of the half and forget scoring they never even looked threatening other than hitting the woodwork once by rooney.

      1. No excuses for MU. No, injuries shouldn’t count as one, because they are Manchester United – they are expected to win given their pedigree and resources as compared to Villa.
        That said, it’s fortunate for them that Chelsea could get only a draw and not pull away too far in the table. The best result this week is Arsenal winning against Liverpool and placing themselves as serious contenders for the title too. The EPL gets more interesting.

  8. Tyson’s whine? Translation – “I’m a glory hunter and it made me sad Villa beat the squad I picked this year. I bet I’ll pick the league winner by Week 37 or 38, though. Then I will be happy and tell everyone else how much their squad sucks.”

  9. Lmao at some of these comments…..Villa were great.
    They executed a gameplan.
    Great cross from Ashley Young, great header from Agbonlahor.
    For the record, it was almost “full strength” United, who was missing? Van Der Sar and Rio Ferdinand? Thats all that i could see. United don’t look so good, they were lucky to win in midweek, Wolfsburg missed some sitters. Man United fans should just quit bitchin’ and accept it. Even United lose sometimes. I mean its not like Villa don’t deserve a win against ’em….time and time again i have had to watch Villa leads crumble to United.They didn’t even sit back….they kept two up front for the vast majority of the game….until Carew came on and Agbonlahor dropped back.
    Great job by the team.

  10. Villa were great and they deserve the victory, I hope to see generation like the old early eighties fighting and humilating United and Liverpool. Just for your information Tyson Villa will win the league :)

  11. A great day of action on 12-12-09 in the Prem.

    Some random thoughts:

    Yes, American’s prefer a final score other than a draw but we appreciate that some results are a good draw, for instance Everton v. Chelsea, but is a Man City draw against anyone a good result? Think not.

    Has the commitments of the players and the teams of the big four really just become too much, internationals, league cup, CL, are all playing a factor in the weekend results. If a big team has a game in Europe on Wednesday can it be at it’s peak on Saturday. Does it provide an Everton or Villa an opportunity to have the playing field leveled?

    Spurs should not be taken serious until they can beat the lower table clubs on a regular basis.

    Anyone notice the Hull is not in danger of going down right now? The same points as Everton. Who gives them credit.

    Two small fry meet in an entertaining game on ESPN2. Will the viewer numbers be good. Bet not, but that is ashame in my book. Is the early time start time on Saturdays just too early to get big numbers. Seems so.

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