Everything about the match was a bit strange.
It was the Premier League's first appearance on a Friday night in years. Villa Park was full to the rafters, making an incredible European-like atmosphere for the entire country -- and the world -- to see in a much-hyped match. And on the pitch, two teams with many new faces and little chemistry battled out a sometimes interesting but mostly disorganized game of football.
In the end, the result wasn't strange at all. Manchester United beat Aston Villa, 1-0, with the Red Devils putting in a professional away performance against a Villa side lacking connectivity or rhythm. While the match lacked memorable moments and was decided by a lucky deflected goal, here are the player ratings and analysis nonetheless for the Aston Villa men on a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.
GK: Brad Guzan, Rating: 6
A pretty solid performance from Guzan. The goal was deflected well out of his reach. His distribution was better than usual. And his best moment was a slide tackle just inside the box on Memphis Depay on a similar situation that Thibaut Courtois got wrong for Chelsea last weekend, conceding a penalty and receiving a red card. Guzan timed it perfectly on Friday. Unbelievably, he didn't even have a save to make.
RB: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 5
Really a tough matchup for Bacuna. With the threat of Memphis, Luke Shaw and Adnan Januzaj overloading that side of the pitch frequently, Bacuna did a lot of defending and rarely got forward. Did well enough and had some impressive interceptions, perhaps suggesting that the defensive side of the Dutchman's game is really improving.
CB: Micah Richards, Rating: 4
Low rating because of his poor defending on United's goal. His failure to track Januzaj's run behind was compounded by over-committing to the challenge, allowing the winger to cut back and get a shot away. That type of moment might not be punished at right back, but hopefully Richards learns how to deal with situations like that going forward as a center back. Because besides that, he played well again. Just needs to cut out the glaring mistakes.
CB: Ciaran Clark, Rating: 6
Another assured performance from Clark. He won everything in the air and defended very well. Terribly unlucky to not block Januzaj's shot that led to the goal. His passing can improve, but Clark has continued his form from last season into early in this campaign.
LB: Jordan Amavi, Rating: 6
While Bacuna was forced to sit back and defend, Amavi still managed to get forward throughout the match -- much to the approval of the Villa Park faithful seeing a quality left back for the first time in years. Nine take-on attempts from a left back is remarkable, and he succeeded with an impressive five of those. When his teammates start anticipating his crosses instead of reacting, the assists will come. He also defended well with five interceptions and three tackles.
CDM: Ashley Westwood, Rating: 7
Most of Villa's threatening attacks came through Westwood, with the confidence oozing for the man who just signed a new long-term deal at Villa Park. His ability to switch play and maintain possession was awesome to see, and NBCSN commentator Arlo White gushed on several occasions at the Englishman's distribution. Westwood is another player who could start tallying assists for fun when the Villa attackers begin gelling.
CM: Idrissa Gana Gueye, Rating: 5
A very Fabian Delph-like performance from Gana. His tackling was quality at times, making five to break up United's play in key defensive areas. But his passing wasn't up to snuff. He gave the ball away too frequently in forward positions. He remains an undoubtedly talented player who needs time to develop chemistry with his teammates, especially the forwards.
CM: Jordan Veretout, Rating: 4
Not involved near enough offensively or defensively. Veretout was out-muscled by the quality players throughout United's lineup. For a player brought in to be a creative dynamo, the Frenchman didn't initiate anything going forward, a big reason why the Villa attack struggled to connect passes in the final third. Judging by this performance, Veretout may need quite some time to adapt to the Premier League.
LW: Scott Sinclair, Rating: 5
Put in a shift. Ran his socks off, tried to dribble forward when possible and had some slick passing. However, Adama Traore was watching on, and he'll surely be confident he can possibly displace Sinclair in the starting XI soon.
ST: Gabby Agbonlahor, Rating: 3
Another player who could be on the bench in the near future. Seven completed passes isn't good enough for a player who was on the pitch the entire match, regardless of position. Agbonlahor didn't do much to make his case for a continued starting role. And with the No. 10 squad number still available, Tim Sherwood might feel like another striker is needed given the performance of Agbonlahor on Friday night.
RW: Jordan Ayew, Rating: 4
Ayew did his best Charles N'Zogbia impression in this match, and that's not a compliment. The forward got himself into some good positions but couldn't dribble past any defenders or get the final pass right. Ayew is taking some criticism from some Villa fans for his poor end product, and rightfully so. There's nothing more frustrating than attacking players who get into dangerous areas before losing concentrating or failing to execute at the key moment. Hopefully Ayew can improve in that area.
ST: Rudy Gestede, Rating: 5
Was surprised Gestede didn't start, but I understand Sherwood's reasoning. Gestede doesn't seem like the type to close down and defend like needed when facing a top four club. When he did come on, the big striker helped put United on the back foot a bit more, but he didn't have the game-changing impact like at Bournemouth. Against much better defenders, Gestede's aerially ability wasn't as overwhelming.
CM: Carlos Sanchez, Rating: 5
Came in and disrupted a few United counter attacks but didn't do what Villa really needed towards the end of the match: provide creativity going forward.