Aston Villa were victorious at the second attempt, after play off final heartbreak last season. A 2-1 win at Wembley, against Frank Lampard’s Derby team saw Villa reclaim a top tier spot after three seasons in the Championship. Great news for Villa fans, but even better news for Manchester United fans.
Why, I hear you ask? Well, United’s record at Villa park is absolute quality. A happy hunting ground for league points and cup victories. No doubt I will have put the mockers on now for the coming season but in the last 20 visits away at Villa, United’s record reads as follows:
Played 20 – Won 13 – Drew 7 – Lost 0
You have to go back to the opening day of the 1995/96 season to find United’s last defeat at this famous old ground. A 3-1 defeat in a game which featured the emergence of the class of ’92 and the famous ” you can’t win anything with kids” quote on Match of the Day. United would go on to lift the League and FA Cup double.
” You can’t win anything with kids” – Alan Hansen, MOTD 1995
Villa park has hosted some cracking games, some of them not even against Aston Villa. Here are 4 of my favourite memories from playing here.
Arsenal FA Cup replay 2-1 1999
An obvious choice, but one which will live on as not only providing the greatest goal ever scored in an FA Cup game, but also the last replay in history. And what a way to bow out! David Beckham had given United the lead before a Dennis Bergkamp goal squared things up. A red card to captain Roy Keane, would see United down to ten men. Phil Neville trips Ray Parlour in the dying seconds to concede a penalty and Bergkamp misses. Peter Schmeichel diving to his left to palm away the ball and send the game into extra time. A lazy pass from Patrick Viera and a mazy run from Ryan Giggs, past Dixon, past Keown, past Adams and then past Seamen. Thank you very much. Cue celebration and chest hair.
Aston Villa 2 United 3 FA Cup 2002
Villa looked to be home and dry when Phil Neville put the ball into his own net, early in the second half to put the hosts 2-0 up. A first half strike from Ian Taylor had set the Villa on their way, United though, had other ideas. When Ole Gunna Solskjaer pulled one back in the 77th minute, there was only ever going to be one winner. Ruud Van Nistelrooy then struck twice in two minutes to seal the tie and send United into the next round.
Aston Villa 0 United 3 2006
This game will always be remembered for the absolute thunderbastard of a volley from Paul Scholes, and of course the Aston Villa keeper wearing trackie bottoms. A brace from Cristiano Ronaldo would be over shadowed by the beauty of a United corner on the right, swung out to the unmarked Scholes who’s filthy volley would glide into the back of the net via the underside of the bar. Absolutely beautiful.
Arsenal 1 United 2 FA Cup 1983
As United marched towards another cup final, another fruitful trip to Villa Park would follow. Goals from Bryan Robson and Norman Whiteside would see Ron Atkinson’s men book their place at Wembley to face Brighton and Hove Albion.
Let’s hope that nothing changes going into the new season. I look forward to seeing the away fixture against Villa when they are released.
Ole’s at the wheel!