Five key talking points as Unai Emery’s Villa reign begins in style

Unai Emery’s tenure as Aston Villa boss began with a superb 3-1 win over Man Utd at Villa Park on Sunday after a hugely impressive team performance.

Goals from Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey led us to securing all three points, but it was a brilliant collective effort on and off the ball that ensured we were able to get the better of Erik ten Hag’s side and pick up the perfect result.

READ MORE: Villa player ratings vs Man Utd: Bailey, Ramsey, Mings shine in superb win

There was also of course a bit of history as Villa ended a 27-year run without a home win over Utd in the Premier League, and so it was certainly pleasing to put that one behind us after so many heartbreaks and disappointments over the years.

With another meeting against Man Utd in midweek in the League Cup, followed by a trip to Brighton in the Premier League ahead of the World Cup break, this result gives us a solid foundation on which to build now and it’s hoped that we can indeed follow it up with more impressive displays.

Emery’s influence clear immediately

Despite only taking his first training session on Wednesday morning, the level of detail that went into that performance was staggering as Villa showed so many positive signs.

Whether it was the movement and ability of every player to attack and find space and offer an option to play intricate passes to break the lines and find holes in Utd’s defensive set up, or it was shifting into a 4-4-2 out of possession and showing organisation and discipline throughout to frustrate them, it was a complete effort.

The game plan and preparation was spot on, and so Emery and the players deserve real credit for putting it all together and then going out and executing it so well.

Emery’s touchline presence noticeable

It’s not meant as a dig at our former boss, but it was so refreshing to see Emery lead the way in giving out instructions from the touchline throughout the entire game.

The Villa boss was constantly organising and encouraging his players, reminding them of where to be or correcting any little mistakes that he could see.

While his coaching staff did step forward and join him at times, there was no sideline committee or various voices handing out guidance to the players, Emery took that role on himself.

Only a first step

Importantly, the Villa boss reminded all concerned in his post-match interview that this is merely a first step and the focus and aim now is to follow it up and be more consistent.

If this is what we can produce after less than a week of his influence, it’s incredibly exciting to think how much improvement we can make over a longer period under his stewardship.

However, we must continue to develop and put that into practice on the pitch week in and week out, and we’ll hopefully continue to see the results of that hard work and move in the right direction.

Boubacar Kamara makes comeback

On an afternoon full of positives, it was great to see Kamara make his comeback from a knee injury that had sidelined him since mid-September.

While Leander Dendoncker and Douglas Luiz have formed an impressive partnership in the midfield pivot, Kamara’s return will not only lead to increased competition, which is a positive in itself, but the quality that he brings to the side will make a major difference.

He’ll hope to get more minutes in midweek to build his fitness, and while Dendoncker doesn’t deserve to be dropped given his recent form, there is a case that Kamara-Luiz could be an ideal pairing in time.

Morgan Sanson back in contention

Much to the delight of the Villa Park faithful, Sanson made a rare appearance on Sunday as he came on in the latter stages and got some minutes under his belt.

The Frenchman has struggled with injuries since he arrived but has also failed to establish himself in the Villa XI under either Dean Smith or Steven Gerrard.

With a clean slate following Emery’s arrival coupled with his strengths and attributes suiting the style of play that the Villa boss is set to implement, there is hope that Sanson finally has a big role to play for us moving forward.