Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag let down by four players and other lessons from Aston Villa loss | Football | Sport

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag let down by four players and other lessons from Aston Villa loss | Football | Sport

Manchester United saw their recent resurgence ended by Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey gave the hosts all three points, with Luke Shaw pulling back a consolation. Express Sport will now take a look at lessons and talking points from the fixture at Villa Park.

United let down by four

United weren’t at their best throughout the showdown and four players, in particular, had bad days at the office.

Victor Lindelof was poor in the first half and should have done better when going up against Ollie Watkins for Villa’s opener.

Donny van de Beek failed to make much of an impact, which was something to be expected given it was his first Premier League start since May 2021.

Marcus Rashford, while liberated this season, can’t perform on the right like he does on the left.

And Christian Eriksen had a day to forget, with the Denmark international losing his midfield battles as Villa claimed all three points.

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United miss Antony

For the match with Villa, United decided to deploy Rashford on the right – with Alejandro Garnacho on the left and Cristiano Ronaldo down the middle.

And it was clear the Red Devils missed Antony, who missed the game through injury.

As a right-winger with a good left foot, he’s key to Ten Hag’s system – hence the decision to spend £86million on him.

Rashford looks like he struggles on the other flank, with the England international far better suited to playing on the left.

And it’s clear United need another specialist in that position if they’re to evolve and challenge for the biggest trophies on offer.

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Emery can work wonders at Villa

This was Unai Emery’s first match in the Aston Villa dugout.

And the way his players responded to his appointment suggests he could be a big presence at the club, with the home side superior in every department.

Certainly, Villa already look better than at any point under Steven Gerrard. That, perhaps, is the biggest compliment you can pay Emery at this point.

The fallen Premier League giants have pledged to give Emery the backing he needs in order to succeed in the role.

And this, without doubt, was the perfect start.

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Ronaldo a shadow of his old self

For the last few weeks, United have been getting results – despite Ronaldo misfiring in front of goal.

But the team couldn’t spare his blushes on this occasion, with the 37-year-old cutting a frustrated figure as his side slumped to defeat.

Ronaldo looks toothless up top these days and missing pre-season back in the summer appears to have set him back.

The United star was flat against Villa, despite being made captain, and allowed his head to dip rather than rallying the troops around him.

Ronaldo used to be one of the best players in the world but those days, unfortunately for him, are long gone.

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Casemiro a shining light

Though United weren’t at their best against Villa, Casemiro was a shining light on a tough day for Erik ten Hag and his day.

The Brazil international just oozes class in midfield and how the Red Devils will be thinking they should have got him years ago.

Casemiro actually prevented the scoreline from being even worse for United, digging in deep in midfield to emerge from the match with credit.

He didn’t allow his own head to drop, instead working extremely hard to try and get his side back into the contest.

He’s well and truly undroppable in midfield and, right now, looks to be £70m well spent.

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