Gift of the Gab shocks Utd
Gabriel Agbonlahor's goal gave Aston Villa a shock 1-0 win over Manchester United to move them into third spot in the table.
Last Updated: 13/12/09 9:11am
Gabriel Agbonlahor's goal gave Aston Villa a shock 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford to move them into third spot in the table.
The win was Villa's first win at United since 1983 as Sir Alex Ferguson's side suffered their first home defeat of the campaign.
The defeat means United miss out on the chance to go level on points with Chelsea after Carlo Ancelotti's side were held to a 3-3 draw at home by Everton.
Agbonlahor struck on 21 minutes when he headed home Ashley Young's cross to give Villa a famous win.
United threw everything at Villa, but the closest they came to an equaliser was when Wayne Rooney hit the crossbar and Nemanja Vidic had a header cleared off the line.
And while Villa themselves might not have enjoyed the best of times against United of late, Agbonlahor has not done too badly.
The England striker had scored in the past three seasons against the Red Devils, so he was completing a rather impressive four-timer when he nodded home Young's right-wing cross.
Agbonlahor had already shown impressive strength to hold off Wes Brown, then spotted his opportunity after rolling a pass to Young, darting into the space where he expected the cross to come.
Brown might be criticised for not sticking to his man, but Tomasz Kuszczak was equally culpable, edging four yards off his line and then stopping as he realised he had no chance of cutting it out.
The cross duly came and, with Kuszczak in no man's land, Agbonlahor steered his header into the net.
Almost twoIt could quite easily have been two by half-time as Kuszczak's indecisiveness spread through a defence supposedly bolstered by the return of Brown and Nemanja Vidic.
Agbonlahor harried Darren Fletcher off the ball after the Scot had received a pass he was not expecting from Kuszczak.
Instead of going for goal himself he unselfishly tried to present Emile Heskey with a tap-in. This time Kuszczak redeemed himself.
United were not exactly a muted force, it was just that their efforts tended to be half-chances rather than clear opportunities.
Antonio Valencia was a threat but was caught on his heels when Rooney flicked an inspired pass to the near post.
Rooney was also booked for a blatant dive when he went down anticipating a challenge from Luke Young which never actually arrived.
And it was Rooney who saw his shot crash off the bar after a brilliant piece of close control when he received Patrice Evra's low cross.
United's efforts were underwhelming enough for Ferguson to introduce Michael Owen at the break.
Like Ryan Giggs, it was a rare off-day for Rooney, who failed to take a couple of those half-chances that kept coming United's way.
If that was not bad enough, after flattening Downing, Rooney raced at the Villa goal then woefully overhit a through-ball intended for Dimitar Berbatov.
Not that the Bulgarian had anyone to blame but himself when Michael Carrick charged forward on the overlap and invited the finish with a precise cut-back.
It looked certain to be the equaliser, but Berbatov failed to make a proper connection.
Stewart Downing was perfectly placed to boot a Vidic header off the line with 10 minutes remaining as the game entered the phase where last year Villa's victory hopes were so cruelly snatched away from them.
Carrick drove another late effort wide, but at the end the only noises United made were Ferguson's complaints about the amount of time being added on.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|7||Shots off Target||3|