Dead and buried at 2-0? Not a chance. What a joy to silence the travelling football tourists in the Doug Ellis and deliver timely karma to a whiny United side.Embed from Getty Images
Whilst the first half reminded us all how much work there is to be done, the second, after a frank half-time team talk from Gerrard, underlined the direction of travel.
This was a game in which Villa grew into, and one wonders if we’d started with the same confidence we finished with, and avoided a howler of a goal early doors, then all 3 points would have been taken.
There were tireless displays across the team.
Buendia was outstanding. Tricky, intelligent and relentless in looking for a dangerous ball. Not everything comes off, but the Argentine operates on a different plain of creativity to many.
Ramsey shook off an indifferent first half to produce and eye catching second 45. Still just 20, a first goal at Villa Park and an assist returned a deserved Man Of The Match Award.
Lucas Digne, who will likely be toasting the demise of Rafa Benitez this evening, showed and energy and determination we can all buy into. We’ll gloss over the lunging first half challenge that resulted in a yellow, for now.
Martinez, who will be disappointed with a dreadful error in the opening exchanges did more than enough to redeem himself. A string of fine saves across the game saw the Copa America winner receive support from the terraces.
Sanson, though at fault for the United 2nd, put in his best display in a Villa shirt. The Frenchman is a clever footballer, who has all the attributes with which to have a telling contribution to this Villa side.
And what of Coutinho? The Brazilian watched on from the touchline as United extended their lead. It took the 29 year old just a few minutes to settle, before demonstrating how his powers can change a game in an instant. An assist for Ramsey and a goal to level the game almost brought the roof off Villa Park.
Countless Villa sides have folded in the same circumstances as the 67th minute as the visitors appeared to have sealed an away win. There is something about Gerrard’s mentality that gives rise to great optimism for what may lie ahead.Embed from Getty Images