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Winners & Losers

Captain Fantastic? That's not Ronaldo anymore: Man Utd winners, losers and ratings from dismal Aston Villa defeat

12:28 AM MYT 07/11/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 2022-23
The under-fire forward was handed the armband by Erik ten Hag at Villa Park but again struggled as United slipped to a 3-1 loss

Erik ten Hag raised eyebrows by naming Cristiano Ronaldo as his captain for Manchester United's clash with Aston Villa and then could only watch as his team were cut apart as Unai Emery celebrated his first game in charge at Villa Park with a convincing 3-1 win.

The hosts came flying out of the blocks and were 2-0 up inside 11 minutes. Leon Bailey fired Villa in front on seven minutes, and four minutes later David de Gea was picking the ball out of his net again after a wonderful free-kick from Lucas Digne.

United were offered hope just before half-time when Jacob Ramsey deflected Luke Shaw’s shot past Emiliano Martinez, but Villa quickly snuffed out the visitors’ dreams of a revival.

Ramsey went from villain to hero by adding a third at the start of the second half to ensure all three points and make it a perfect start for Emery.

  • Unai Emery Aston Villa 2022-23

    Winners

    Unai Emery:

    The former Arsenal boss took charge of Villa for the first time on Sunday and could not have asked for a better start. The Villans flew out of the blocks and left a shell-shocked United 2-0 down with only 11 minutes on the clock. Emery couldn’t hide his joy on the touchline and rightly so. Villa looked totally different from the team that had been struggling under previous boss Steven Gerrard. United did threaten a comeback when they pulled one back, but after a half-time team talk, Emery's side emerged for the second half and quickly finished the job.

    Bruno Fernandes:

    The Portugal international was forced to sit this one out through suspension and was badly missed by United. Fernandes' form has been questioned at times this season, but without the 28-year-old on the pitch the visitors lacked inspiration, were easily cut apart in midfield and offered very little bite. There was also a lack of leadership and balance in midfield as they limped to a defeat that simply highlighted how important Fernandes is to Erik ten Hag's team.

  • Erik ten Hag Manchester United 2022-23

    Losers

    Captain Ronaldo:

    The Portugal international captained United for the first time under Ten Hag in a move that won’t sit well with many fans, as it’s only been matter of weeks since Ronaldo walked out of the win over Tottenham before full-time. It was not a decision that went well either. United were a complete mess in the first half and in dire need of a driving force to get them back into the game. An own goal by Jacob Ramsey gave them hope but it was quickly snuffed out as Villa went 3-1 up. Ronaldo offered neither leadership nor inspiration on what was a dismal afternoon for the Red Devils.

    Erik ten Hag:

    Ten Hag's decision to hand the armband to Ronaldo was not his only dubious move. Selecting Donny van de Beek again after an anonymous showing in midweek was curious and he was too slow to change his team when things started to go wrong. A giant slice of luck ensured United were only 2-1 down at half-time and very much still in the game, yet Ten Hag decided not to change his team at the break, keeping faith with the starting XI that had played so poorly in the first half, and was made to pay when Ramsey restored Villa's two-goal lead three minutes into the second half.

    United's midfield

    Van de Beek was not the only poor performer in midfield as Villa cut open the visitors almost at will. Casemiro and Christian Eriksen offered very little protection and both players were caught out for two of Villa's goals. Indeed the hosts' third saw Ramsey run into the box without anyone near him to put the game out of United's reach. Fred and Scott McTominay have been far from perfect this season, but Ten Hag might rue leaving both players out on Sunday.

  • Luke Shaw Diogo Dalot Manchester United 2022-23

    Man Utd Ratings: Defence

    David de Gea (5/10): Beaten three times on a tough afternoon for the United backline.

    Diogo Dalot (4/10): Has looked good in recent weeks but struggled at Villa Park and missed a decent chance in the second half.

    Victor Lindelof (3/10): A real weak link in defence. Caught out for two of the Villa goals and was too easily bullied by the hosts.

    Lisandro Martinez (5/10): Couldn’t keep up with Bailey for the opener and was pulled all over the place.

    Luke Shaw (5/10): Gave away the free-kick for the second goal but got United back into it with a shot that flew in with a little help from Jacob Ramsey.

  • Christian Eriksen Manchester United 2022-23

    Midfield

    Casemiro (6/10): The best of a bad bunch in midfield

    Christian Eriksen (5/10): Not a strong enough presence as United were too easily cut open.

    Donny van de Beek (3/10): Completely anonymous on his first Premier League start of the season.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 2022-23

    Attack

    Marcus Rashford (5/10): Struggled on the right yet again and couldn't make an impact.

    Cristiano Ronaldo (3/10): Barely involved in any build-up play and wasted a good chance with a header. Never really looked like scoring.

    Alejandro Garnacho (5/10): The brightest of United attackers but couldn't add another goal after his strike against Real Sociedad.

  • Erik ten Hag Manchester United 2022-23

    Manager & Subs

    Anthony Martial (5/10): Couldn't find a goal but United fans will be glad to see him back.

    Anthony Elanga (5/10): His most notable contribution was getting clattered by Emi Martinez.

    Tyrell Malacia (5/10): Didn't offer too much.

    Erik ten Hag (4/10): His decision to make Ronaldo captain was a curious one, and it was a little perplexing to see Donny van de Beek start after a poor performance against Real Sociedad. The own goal before half-time offered United chance of a comeback but Ten Hag opted not to change his team at the break and by the time he introduced his subs the game was gone.