Manchester United looked to close the gap on their top-four rivals as they visited Aston Villa in the latest Premier League matchweek. Erik ten Hag’s side have been on a streak of good form since their defeat at the hands of Manchester City. One major blow ahead of the game was that star midfielder and stand-in captain Bruno Fernandes was suspended following the accumulation of five yellow cards. Youngster Alejandro Garnacho retained his place in the starting 11 after his match-winning goal against Real Sociedad in the UEFA Europa League.
Cristiano Ronaldo not only started the game but was also named the captain in the absence of Fernandes and club captain Harry Maguire, who could only make the bench.
With crucial points in the race for Champions League qualification at stake, United wanted to dampen the mood around Unai Emery’s first match in charge of Villa.
Manchester United Player Ratings in Disappointing Loss at Villa Park
Defeat at Villa Park.#MUFC || #AVLMUN
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 6, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Disappoints, Donny Van de Beek Poor
Despite United’s solid recent form, Villa were able to secure their first win at Villa Park against United since 1995 this Sunday. The Red Devils came away with a 3-1 loss following a lacklustre performance against the Birmingham side.
Bruno Fernandes was dearly missed at the head of midfield while Ronaldo failed to shine once again. The defence looked poor as well, with Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot both having miserable times of it. Victor Lindelof also did not do his place in the pecking order any favours, being at fault when United conceded their first goal in the seventh minute of the game.
The second goal was partly due to Shaw’s poor tackle just outside the penalty box as Lucas Digne slotted the ball home from a well-taken free kick. Shaw was also responsible for the Red Devils’ only goal, as his shot was deflected into the back of the net off Jacob Ramsey.
Ramsey, however, avenged the own goal as he scored Villa’s third only three minutes into the second half to secure Emery’s first win as manager.
Read More: Manchester United Transfer Plans for January: Star attacker to stay with limited alternative options, incoming signings unlikely
We at Last Word on Football have provided our Manchester United player ratings for this embarrassing match at Villa Park, with some truly shocking performances having been on display.
David de Gea – 5
While the Spanish goalkeeper can be partially blamed for his positioning during Villa’s second goal, he did not have much to do throughout the game. De Gea provided some good saves whenever called upon and helped the team clear out some potentially dangerous moments.
He will feel hard done by with the scoreline and his status as United’s number-one goalkeeper will come under scrutiny once again.
Lisandro Martinez – 6
The Argentinian certainly looked like the best player on the pitch as he provided another great performance. Martinez was his usual self, bossing the Villa forward line and providing some exceptional line-breaking passes.
However, in a game where the team conceded three goals, the former Ajax man will also have to shoulder some responsibility for the poor performance.
Victor Lindelof – 3
Lindelof looked like a shadow of his former self as he failed to complement Martinez in defence. In the absence of Raphael Varane, the Swedish international has often been considered the best alternative.
Despite some great showings over the past few weeks, Lindelof was caught out of position several times and was pressured into making loose passes. He was also at fault for Villa’s first goal.
Diogo Dalot – 3
The Portuguese international has been highly praised this season for what many have considered a resurrection of his United career under Erik ten Hag. However, Dalot also had a poor outing.
He lacked potency in defence, again getting caught out of position and was also ineffective in attack. The fullback failed to make some crucial passes, particularly when he was in a fantastic crossing position midway through the second half and played the ball behind the multiple white shirts in the penalty box, while he also lost the ball quite a few times in the Villa half. It can be argued that this was his worst performance this season.
Luke Shaw – 2
Luke Shaw has also seen somewhat of an ascendency since Ten Hag has taken charge of United, despite initially losing his starting place to new signing Tyrell Malacia. However, the England international looked lazy in defence and attack. The technically astute left-back conceded the free kick that led to Digne’s goal, although he somewhat made amends after his deflected shot gave United a glimmer of hope of staging a comeback.
Nevertheless, Shaw had a disastrous outing and was rightly replaced by Tyrell Malacia.
Casemiro – 6
Apart from Martinez, the former Real Madrid star was the only other player who stood out in the game. Casemiro won several half challenges and even took some risks to get United’s attacks going. The Brazilian international was defensively solid and looked to be the much-needed pivot at the heart of the midfield.
Donny van de Beek – 2
Following this match, one has to ask what Van de Beek brings to United. The Dutch international was ineffective in attack and failed to provide the passing incision that Bruno Fernandes so often does. Frequently it seemed as though United were playing with ten men, as the former Ajax star was nowhere to be found on the pitch.
Van De Beek’s Manchester United career never really kicked off despite moving from the Netherlands with a lot of promise. It could be time to ship the player and give him the opportunity to look for pastures new.
Christian Eriksen – 5
Despite not having as great a performance as Martinez and Casemiro, Eriksen had his moments. He provided some great crosses and was also key to United’s movement in attack. He was also exceptional in tracking back and made some crucial defensive contributions.
Marcus Rashford – 3
Rashford had a relatively quiet game as he failed to create opportunities. He was also poor in getting crosses across the box, often looking for the safer option, and made some sloppy mistakes.
Alejandro Garnacho – 4
Alongside Eriksen, Garnacho also falls into the category of not having the best of games but was also not poor either. He created opportunities when the situations arose and was also instrumental in some of United’s most potent attacks.
However, the Argentinian youngster failed to capitalise on the golden opportunity he was rightly given by Ten Hag and couldn’t create anything substantial.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 2
The legendary star was perhaps the worst player on the pitch for Manchester United today. Despite donning the captain’s armband, the Portuguese star delivered an uncaptain-like performance.
He failed to deliver in attack and was not sharp in leading the frontline. Ronaldo also missed a clear opportunity in the first, and that is about as close he got to putting the ball at the back of the net.
With Anthony Martial now back in the squad, Ronaldo could see himself relegated to the bench once again.
Rating the Substitutes
Anthony Martial – 3
Tyrell Malacia – 3
Anthony Elanga – 4
United only used three of the available five substitutions in the game, and none of them made any impact.
Martial, Elanga and Malacia were all brought on to reduce the deficit. However, the changes failed to give Ten Hag any relief as the side crumbled in the opposition half.
It was good to see Martial return to the side after being sidelined with an injury, but he looked rusty and did not provide the attacking threat fans might have hoped for. Malacia, while good in defence, provided very little in attack. His crosses often failed to reach any United player and were wasteful.
Out of the three subs, Elanga was the only one who tried to make something happen. Operating from the right wing, the Swedish star looked to take on Villa’s defenders, even producing some neat crosses while himself getting on the end of one.
Performance rating – 1
Manchester United did not play the way fans have been used to seem them perform recently under the management of Ten Hag. The side failed to capitalise on big chances while leaking opportunities and goals in defence. Unai Emery has always been the Red Devils’ Achilles heel, and this theory was again proved right.
Unfortunately for Ten Hag and his men, they are slated to face Villa once again in four days in the EFL Cup. It remains to be seen how they will fare.