Dean Smith’s Aston Villa End Old Trafford Curse and Hint at True Potential

Manchester United vs Aston Villa

United Wins = Good Villa Teams

Aston Villa’s woeful record in recent decades against Manchester United is well documented, but what is not perhaps realised is that beating United is a privilege saved for decent Villa teams.

Decent, average and poor Villa teams have managed to fashion wins against the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in the past decade. Even Alex McLeish and Paul Lambert scored shock wins against City, while Jose Mourihino went several seasons before he finally got a win on his bogey ground of Villa Park. Villa though had never taken United’s scalp doing this period.

Villa’s last win against United, at Old Trafford in 2009, showcased Martin O’Neill’s robust top six Villa team. The last league win before that was the season opening 3-1 win of Brian Little’s 4th place finishing and League Cup winning Villa team.

In between those games, John Gregory’s top six and FA Cup finalists of the 1999-2000 season managed to beat United in the League Cup 3-0.

Ron Atkinson’s 3-1 win over United in the 1994 League Cup final added to his talented team’s two wins in the 1992/1993 season, when Villa finished second behind United for the title, while knocking them out in the League Cup.

From 1990 to the present day, these had been the only victories for Villa over United, until Dean Smith’s men’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford this weekend.

Promising Villa Team

On this basis, Dean Smith’s men have earned a right of passage with their recent win over Ronaldo and co, suggesting there is huge potential this season with a squad that has already proven to be a lot stronger in depth than last season.

You have a keeper that has just had a transformative season with Villa ending with a Copa America win with his country, a back four/five that has grown together into one of the league’s best, the likes of McGinn and Luiz improving, while Watkins, Ings, Buendia, Traore and Bailey have upped the quality level of the Villa squad.

If you want evidence that this Villa team is going places, within the past year, Villa have now beaten five out of the traditional ‘Sky Six’, with only Manchester City unaccounted for. Mentality, they clearly now have both belief and potential.

The United win though was like flicking a big switch that upped the level of what Smith’s Villa could achieve this season.

In the recent context of Villa’s misfortunes against United, namely the fact Bruno Fernandes had scored penalties in the previous three encounters between the clubs, it was fitting that United would again get a penalty at a key moment (in ‘Fergie time’) and he would take it again.

The miss put a massive cherry on top of what was already a sweet victory for Villa supporters.

It felt like justice for recent misfortune against the Red Devils.


While the My Old Man Said podcast will reflect back on the game in an episode at the start of the new week, we did preview the game in the latest Something for the Weekend. It certainly provides an insight into the United curse we’ve been under.

So, this is a belated heads-up to that episode – it’s still worth a listen.

We talk:

  • Leon Bailey & Morgan Sanson injuries
  • Bitter sweet League Cup defeat against Chelsea
  • Away trip to Old Trafford
  • Ronaldo’s record against Aston Villa

Plus, we catch up with the latest Villa happenings since the last main MOMS podcast show (episode 163).

Catch the forthcoming episode 164 for our discussion on the actual events of Old Trafford.

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David Michael – @oldmansaid

Chris Budd – @BUDD_music

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Editor/Producer – David Michael