Man Utd Treble-less: Unai Emery’s Aston Villa would have beaten Man Utd to four PL titles

Will Ford
Emery Ferguson Man Utd

Aston Villa have taken 42 Premier League points in 20 games under Unai Emery. That’s 2.10 points per game, which when stretched over a 38-game season would leave them with 79.8, which we’re rounding up to 80 points so that Manchester United don’t win the Treble in 1999.

80 points would probably only be enough for third in 2022/23, unless Arsenal take the season they’ve bottled and smash each other over the head, but Villa would have enjoyed plenty of success and many, many near-misses with Emery at the helm throughout the Premier League era…


1995/96: Runners-up (Manchester United – 82 points, Aston Villa – 80 points, Newcastle – 78 points)
Kevin Keegan’s “I would love it if we beat them. Love it!” as Newcastle’s title bid went off the rails is made all the more embarrassing when two draws in their last two games allows Villa to jump above them into second spot.


1996/97: Winners (Aston Villa – 80, Man Utd – 75)
Villa comfortably win the Premier League, their eighth top-flight title and first for 16 years, and with it, entry straight into the Champions League group stage.


1997/98: Winners (Aston Villa – 80; Arsenal – 78)
Two on the bounce for Emery, who pays no mind to the new dietician at Arsenal, allowing his players to eat whatever they want and drink as much as they fancy to fly in the face of the so-called football revolution emerging from north London, winning the title on pie and lager.


1998/99: Winners (Aston Villa – 80; Man Utd – 79)
Well this is just objectively funny. Manchester United’s win over Tottenham on the final day of the season isn’t enough to get ahead of Villa, who claim the title by a single point to crush Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, who are mentally shot as they head to Wembley and then the Nou Camp, and end the season potless.

And, as if that wasn’t good enough, the win by one point means Villa draw level with Manchester United on ten first division titles.


1999/00: Runners-up (Man Utd – 91; Aston Villa – 80, Arsenal – 73)
Not much chance for Villa in 1999/00 up against an actually good Manchester United side rather than the decent but extraordinarily lucky team of the season before.


2000/01: Winners (Aston Villa – 80; Man Utd – 80)
Nine points clear with three games to go, there was just no way, but with the United players on the beach and Fergie’s hairdryer in the drawer, (real-life) defeats to Derby, Southampton and Tottenham gifts Villa the title on goal difference. Eleven top-flight titles apiece.


2001/02: Runners-up (Arsenal – 87; Aston Villa – 80; Liverpool – 80; Man Utd – 77)
Disappointment for Villa, who cede the title to Arsenal, but joy for Ollie Watkins, whose 24 goals (calculated on goals per game under Emery in 2022/23) earned him the Golden Boot ahead of Thierry Henry, who also scored 24 but got six assists to Watkins’ eight.

That extraordinarily consistent scoring rate, not to mention his unbelievable longevity, earned Watkins the Golden Boot in 11 of the 27 seasons.

READ MORE: Ollie Watkins: Villa must resist Big Six transfer calls with ceiling under Unai Emery not yet in view


2002/03: Runners-up (Man Utd – 83 points; Arsenal – 78 points)
A third runners-up medal of what would become nine all told in the Premier League for the Villans.


2003/04: Runners-up (Arsenal – 90; Aston Villa – 80; Chelsea – 79)
2-0 defeats home and away against Arsenal really cost them. Had those Ls been turned into Ws Villa would have a fifth Premier League title, Arsenal would have none and we all would have spared two decades of ‘Invincibles’ fawning.


2004/05: Third (Chelsea – 95; Arsenal – 83; Aston Villa – 80; Man Utd – 77)
Having kept Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea at bay in the first season of the Russian oligarch’s reign, Jose Mourinho arrives to rip up the rulebook, with 15 points the biggest margin there’s ever been between Villa and the Premier League title.


2005/06: Fourth (Chelsea – 91; Manchester United – 83; Liverpool – 82; Aston Villa – 80; Arsenal – 67) 
Closer to the title by points but as far as they’ve been by position. Is Champions League football enough for the Villa fans anymore? #EmeryOut


2006/07: Third (Man Utd – 89; Chelsea – 83; Aston Villa – 80; Liverpool – 68)
Fergie’s back on top after three seasons without the big gong. At least they don’t have a striker to score 20+ goals.


2007/08: Fourth (Man Utd – 87; Chelsea – 85; Arsenal – 83; Aston Villa – 80; Liverpool – 76)
F***, Cristiano Ronaldo got 31, and Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney got 26 between them. They won the Champions League as well. Still no Treble, though.


2008/09: Fourth (Man Utd – 90; Liverpool – 86; Chelsea – 83; Aston Villa – 80; Arsenal – 72)
An unreasonable number of points for United, really. Also too many for Liverpool and Chelsea.


2009/10: Third (Chelsea – 86; Man Utd – 85; Aston Villa – 80; Arsenal – 75)
Chelsea win their first title in four years, this time under Carlo Ancelotti, who’s probably peaked. Emi Martinez shares the Golden Glove with Petr Cech, after 17 clean sheets (calculated on clean sheets per game under Emery in 2022/23).


2010/11: Winners (Aston Villa – 80; Man Utd – 80)
Suck it, Sir Alex. Another goal difference win a decade after the last.


2011/12: Third (Manchester City – 89; Man Utd – 80; Arsenal – 70)
Villa nine points off the pace in the end but at least United got Aguerooooo’d.


2012/13: Runners-up (Man Utd – 89; Aston Villa – 80; Man City – 78)
Emery outlasts his great nemesis Sir Alex Ferguson, who has left The Chosen One David Moyes a steaming pile of a squad. No danger from that part of Manchester from now on.


2013/14: Fourth (Man City – 86; Liverpool – 84; Chelsea – 82; Aston Villa – 80; Arsenal – 79)
The other part of Manchester, though, is a bit of a concern. That’s two Premier League titles now, one for Roberto Mancini and one for Manuel Pellegrini, and the money tap continues to gush. Oh, and that pr*ck Mourinho is back at Chelsea.


2014/15: Runners-up (Chelsea – 87; Aston Villa – 80; Man City – 79)
The pr*ck won it again.


2015/16: Runners-up (Leicester – 81; Aston Villa – 80; Arsenal – 71)
So close to a sixth Premier League title, but aren’t we all glad they didn’t? No-one wanted the Villa behemoth to clinch it over little old Leicester.


2016/17: Third (Chelsea – 93; Tottenham – 86; Aston Villa – 80; Man City – 78)
Absolutely worth taking a beat to laugh at Tottenham’s 86 points being enough to win them the title in eight of the previous 27 Premier League seasons. Emery > Pep Guardiola, whose City side finished third in his debut campaign.


2017/18: Third (Man City – 100; Man Utd – 81; Tottenham – 77)
Oh dear. Guardiola’s quite good, isn’t he? Mourinho pips Villa to second with one of his “best achievements” in management at United. Two decades of Champions League qualification isn’t bad either, mind you. Well done, Unai.


2018/19: Third (Man City – 98; Liverpool – 97; Aston Villa – 80; Chelsea – 72 points)
What fresh hell is this? Jurgen Klopp gets Liverpool to 97 points and doesn’t even win it.


2019/20: Third (Liverpool – 99; Man City – 81 points; Aston Villa – 80; Man Utd – 66 points)
Only one point behind City but Liverpool storm to the title. Klopp’s side look as though they will be a dominant force like City, assuming they look to evolve as their big rivals do. They’ve been warned.


2020/21: Runners-up (Man City – 86; Aston Villa – 80; Man Utd – 74)
United fans are happy with “Ole at the wheel” and that’s good news for Villa and everyone else. Guardiola can’t stay forever.


2021/22: Third (Man City – 93; Liverpool – 92; Aston Villa – 80; Chelsea – 74)
Manchester City win it for the fourth time in five years. At least they can’t get any better.