Game #4955

Season | 2006-07 |

Matchday | #22 |
League Game | #19 |
Premier League Match-week | #19 |  
Manager Game | #22 |
Saturday, 23 December 2006
Premier League | Home | Manchester United | Villa Park | 42,551 | 

Game Summary

Manager | Martin O’Neill |

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Steve Bennett | 
HT Score | 0-0 |

FT Score | 0-3 |
FT Result | Lost |

Last 5 Games | LDDLL | 

League Position | 10th | -1 |

Line Up |

GK Gabor Kiraly |
LB Aaron Hughes |
CB Olof Mellberg |
CB Gary Cahill |
M Steven Davis |
M Gavin McCann |
BOOKED | 70' | SUB OFF | 76' |
M Gareth Barry |
M Stiliyan Petrov |
M Craig Gardner |
F Gabby Agbonlahor |
CF Chris Sutton |
BOOKED | 73' | FINAL |

Substitutes |

CF Juan Pablo Ángel for M Gavin McCann | 76’ | 

Unused Substitutes |

CB Liam Ridgewell
F Milan Baroš
RB Wilfred Bouma
GK Bobby Olejnik

Cards | 

 Yellow | Gavin McCann | 70’ |

 Yellow | Chris Sutton | 73’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 26.06 | 

Oldest Player | CF Chris Sutton | 33.81 |

Youngest Player | M Craig Gardner | 20.09 |

 On this day 23 December 2006 

Following the end of the policy of ostracising legendary players and managers from the League and European Cup winning side of the ’80’s, Randy Lerner rightfully restored the greats to centre stage with legendary Villa boss Ron Saunders receiving a half time standing ovation on his first return to Villa Park in over 20 years.  
Centre forward Chris Sutton made his final appearance for Villa aged 33 before retiring from football due to an eye injury. Similar to the effect of fellow veteran John Fashanu signed some years earlier, Sutton had a dynamic effect on Villa’s play and added a welcome hardened edge to the team. Sadly Chris was limited to 9 appearances, 3 as a substitute and scored once but would have undoubtedly contributed more had injury not prevented it.

Match Report

BBC Sport

Saturday, 23 December 2006

*Manchester United returned to form with a convincing victory at Aston Villa.* 

Villa were unfortunate not to take the lead when Craig Gardner headed against a post before United took control. 

Cristiano Ronaldo lashed home the opener after a great solo run before Paul Scholes crashed home an unstoppable 25-yard volley. 
United, who started with Wayne Rooney on the bench, added a third when the impressive Ronaldo slid the ball in from a Gary Neville cross. 


Before the game, former Villa manager Ron Saunders was given a standing ovation on his first return to the ground in over 20 years. 

Saunders, 74, won the league as Villa boss in 1981 using just 14 players during the entire season but quit because of a contract dispute before the team won the European Cup a year later. 

United, who were without the injured Michael Carrick, found life difficult as Villa started the brighter of the sides in what was the first of three meetings in as many weeks. 

The home side - with Gabriel Agbonlahor pushed up alongside Chris Sutton in attack - were unlucky not to take a 15th-minute lead when Gareth Barry’s free-kick was flicked on by Sutton to Gardner, whose header came back off the post. 

United defender Nemanja Vidic was rightly booked for an awful tackle on Agbonalahor before Park wasted a great chance when he mis-hit a shot when well placed. 

After being slow starters, United gradually got into the game and the fit-again Patrice Evra angled a low drive at goal which on-loan Crystal Palace keeper Gabor Kiraly got down well to keep out. 

Ryan Giggs then curled in a corner from the right which was met by Ronaldo but again Kiraly saved. 

Villa came under more pressure when Giggs released Ronaldo into the left side of the penalty box. The Portugal winger cut inside Aaron Hughes but fired a shot inches wide of the far post with Kiraly beaten. 

New Villa owner Randy Lerner made a presentation to Saunders at half-time, but it was United boss Sir Alex Ferguson who was celebrating as his team took control in the second half. 

They broke the deadlock before the hour mark when Ronaldo ran from the halfway line towards the Villa box. 

He went unchallenged and saw his first shot blocked by Gary Cahill before lashing in the rebound past a helpless Kiraly. 

Scholes then scored one of the contenders for goal of the month on 64 minutes when he brilliantly volleyed over Kiraly and into the net from fully 25 yards after a Giggs corner was headed out by Gavin McCann. 

Villa then had to cope with the introduction of Rooney as United looked to turn the screw following their shock 1-0 defeat at West Ham last Sunday. 

Scholes picked up his fifth booking of the season before Ronaldo had an effort correctly disallowed for offside as United finished on top. 

They made it 3-0 with five minutes left when Rooney opened up the stretched Villa defence and found Gary Neville on the right and his slide-rule cross was turned in by man-of-the-match Ronaldo. 

*Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill:*

“We were playing very well indeed until they scored the first goal - which was very avoidable from our point of view.

“We lose possession, they score. We’ve got a lot of young players in the side and that sort of experience will bring them on immensely. 

“You make mistakes against top quality sides and you’ll remember them.” 

*Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson:*

“It’s a big result after last week’s disappointment when we controlled a game we should have won.

“But today the players got to grips with the game, played some great football and showed determination. 

“Ronaldo was unbelievable, he was a revelation today and he is as good as anyone in the country.” 

*Aston Villa:* Kiraly, Hughes, Mellberg, Cahill, Barry, Agbonlahor, McCann (Angel 76), Gardner, Petrov, Davis, Sutton. Subs Not Used: Olejnik, Baros, Bouma, Ridgewell. 

*Booked:* McCann, Sutton. 

*Man Utd:* Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher, Park (Rooney 66), Scholes (Silvestre 88), Giggs (O’Shea 88), Saha.

Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Brown. 

*Booked:* Vidic, Scholes. 

*Goals:* Ronaldo 58, Scholes 64, Ronaldo 85. 

*Att:* 42,551 

*Ref:* S Bennett (Kent).