Manchester United 1 Aston Villa 0
Being the deep-thinking lover of the game that he is, David O'Leary must have cause to feel quite proud about introducing a new term to football's glossary of snappy soundbites.
The Aston Villa manager's pre-match message was that he was sending his understrength side to Old Trafford charged with the task of producing "Sensible attacking football".
Judged by Saturday lunchtime's evidence, "Sensible attacking football" can be considered the accepted term for 'going somewhere with five strung across the middle to shut up shop and look for a point'.
Thanks to an untimely error by their captain, Villa's 'attacking' did not quite prove 'sensible' enough.
Admittedly, Villa were without two of their three summer outfield signings, Kevin Phillips and Patrik Berger.
They were also left reeling from the latest worrying injury bulletin relating to last season's #3 million capture Martin Laursen. In addition, they were minus Mark Delaney and the suspended Lee Hendrie.
The green light O'Leary apparently has to spend more money before the closing of the transfer window appears to be stuck on amber.
But, even allowing for all those mitigating factors, this was pretty timid stuff.
Sure, it means a successive improvement in results for O'Leary's Villa at Old Trafford . . . 4-0, 3-1 and now only 1-0.
Villa's plan appeared to be based on running, tackling and hoping that either United's strikers would have an off-day or that Villa's keeper would have a blinder.
Thomas Sorensen, thankfully, was in top form. But, once he was beaten by the clumsy but freakish deflection off skipper Olof Mellberg's head that set up Ruud Van Nistelrooy's sharplytaken match-winner, there was no way back for Villa.
In the past two seasons United have scored seven goals against Villa at Old Trafford. In preferring to save Phillips for a match they have got some chance of winning at Portsmouth tomorrow night, O'Leary had made it clear which way he was thinking.
Perhaps mindful of how West Bromwich Albion had gone there in May and drawn with a packed midfield, O'Leary opted to stoke the engine room.
Phillips' well-kept secret of ' stomach strain', and O'Leary's apparent lack of trust in Luke Moore, meant the deployment of Juan Pablo Angel as a lone striker. Having left Liverpool target Nobby Solano on the bench, O'Leary's team did not take long to set their stall out.
In terms of flair from the visitors, there would have been more exciting, attacking thrusts on a chessboard.
It is not technically true to say Villa did not cross the halfway line. But that was the way it felt.
The most menacing moment as far as the United defence was concerned was Rio Ferdinand's slight misunderstanding with his keeper Edwin Van Der Sar.
The complete lack of attacking initiative from the visitors was summed up when Paul Scholes was robbed by Gavin McCann inside the Villa half. The chance of a counter-break was there. But, between them, he and Angel lost the momentum.
Up against Villa's yellowshirted nine-man wall of "sensible" attackers, even United found chances hard to come by.
But they have enough class players to ensure that Sorensen would be kept busy.
He somehow got a touch to turn Park's blistering rightfoot shot against the bar. He had to clear with his chest under pressure from Park as the Korean chased Darren Fletcher's long ball.
When he was beaten by Wayne Rooney's half-hit volley from Scholes' deep corner, to which Van Nistelrooy attempted a cheeky back heel, Peter Whittingham stopped it on the line.
It also needed a Liam Ridgewell block to keep out Rooney's fierce half-volley while Scholes whistled a right-foot rocket just past Sorensen's left upright.
Park had been United's most dangerous player before the break but it took the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in place of Park to get United going.
What a contrast from the show pony with the collapsing legs Villa first encountered on this same ground 20 months ago.
Ronaldo has grown up and looks an outstanding player.
From the Portuguese trickster's first cross, Sorensen had to make a sharp save, then Ronaldo himself went close when the Villa keeper had to go the other way to save his header from Darren Fletcher's cross.
When Van Nistelrooy almost stole in on Gary Neville's cross, a goal was starting to look more likely.
But O'Leary still had cause to feel frustrated by the manner in which it came.
Whittingham's loose prod in the direction of the switched-off Angel, who had almost given up on the prospect of getting a decent pass, was intercepted by Ferdinand.
The England man was away, McCann did finally offer a challenge, but Ferdinand went through it, released the ball to Ronaldo on the right wing and it was from his cross that United scored.
Mellberg's attempt to intercept at the near post wrong-footed the rest of the Villa defence as the ball looped off his head.
The alertness of Van Nistelrooy enabled him to snake out a leg at full stretch and turn the ball home from close range.
It was all that was needed to see off feeble Villa.