Aston Villa snapped a 27-game winless streak in league play against Manchester United on Saturday as Gabriel Agbonlahor scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
Agbonlahor's tally came 21 minutes into the game when he headed home a cross from Ashley Young, and the Villa defense held out despite some heavy pressure in the second half from United.
|Sir Alex Ferguson (R) reacts during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on December 12, 2009|
The win is also the first at Old Trafford for Villa since 1983, and it moves the club into third place ahead of Sunday's match between Arsenal and Liverpool.
United could have joined leaders Chelsea at the top of the table with a win after the Blues were held to a 3-3 draw by Everton earlier in the day, but they instead dropped three points behind Carlo Ancelotti's men.
A good start by United was undone in the 21st minute when Villa struck against the run of play.
Young threw a left-wing cross towards the front of goal, and after escaping the marking of Wes Brown, Agbonlahor nodded the ball past goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
United almost leveled the contest nine minutes later when Patrice Evra's cross was brought down by Wayne Rooney at the near post and smashed off the underside of the crossbar from six yards.
Ryan Giggs then had a chance shortly before halftime when his initial effort from 12 yards was blocked, but he drove the rebound past the post.
Villa sat back and defended for most of the second half, and although United had a huge edge in possession, they were let down by the final ball on numerous occasions.
Nemanja Vidic was finally able to put a ball past goalkeeper Brad Friedel when he headed Rooney's corner kick on target, but Stewart Downing was on hand to clear the ball off the goal line with 10 minutes to play.
Friedel then produced the biggest save of the match in the 86th minute when he got just enough of the ball to tip a shot from Dimitar Berbatov past the post.
United's final chance came early in stoppage time when Michael Carrick attempted a shot from inside the area that sailed wide of the near post.
Tottenham slipped to fifth in the table after a surprising 1-0 loss at home against Wolverhampton, while Younes Kaboul scored in stoppage time to help last-placed Portsmouth grab a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.
Ten-man Manchester City earned a 3-3 draw at Bolton as Carlos Tevez scored his second goal of the match in the 77th minute to erase a brace from Ivan Klasnic, Burnley and Fulham finished 1-1 at Turf Moor, Lee Bowyer scored the lone goal in Birmingham's 1-0 victory over West Ham, Hull City and Blackburn played to a 0-0 stalemate and Stoke City held on for a point against Wigan as Hugo Rodallega failed to convert from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.