How Man Utd responded to their four worst Premier League defeats

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Manchester City 6-1 Manchester United 2011

Manchester United’s shocking 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday rocked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players.

The victory was Liverpool’s biggest-ever triumph at Old Trafford and stunned spectators for a number of different reasons.

But another intriguing factor is how the result reinforced a bizarre trend with Manchester United’s heaviest defeats in the Premier League era, with all of them coming in October.

We’ve cracked open the archives to take a look at them and see how the Red Devils responded to the four other times in Premier League history that they’ve lost by a five-goal margin.

Newcastle 5-0 Man Utd (October 1996)

With the recent Saudi-led takeover, Newcastle fans may be hoping for a return of results such as the drubbing they handed Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in October 1996.

Whether Dennis Irwin cleared Darren Peacock’s header off the line in the 12th minute to open the scoring became incidental, as the Geordie boys ran riot at St James’ Park.

David Ginola made it two with a stunning, curling strike from the edge of the box before half time, while Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer piled on the misery to make it 4-0 by the 75th minute.

Phillipe Albert put the cherry on the cake with a stunning chip that floated over Peter Schmeichel.

It was the latest chapter in the rivalry between the two sides and the heated feud between Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan and Sir Alex Ferguson with *that* iconic interview having happened only a few months before.

But just as happened in the 1995-96 season, the 1996-97 season would see United have the last laugh as they beat Newcastle to the title once again, finishing seven points clear at the top of the table.

Chelsea 5-0 Man Utd (October 1999)

Fresh off the treble-winning season and unbeaten in 29 Premier League matches, United expected a routine victory at Stamford Bridge.

It was anything but, with Chelsea running riot from the first minute when Gustavo Poyet beat United keeper Massimo Taibi to the ball to head the home side in front.

Brought in to replace Schmeichel and provide competition for the number one jersey, Taibi could only watch as Chelsea put five past him. It was the Italian’s last match for United.

Chris Sutton floated another header over the Italian in the 16th minute before Nicky Butt was sent off. Butt lashed out at Dennis Wise with his knee after the Chelsea man had clobbered him with a high foot. While Wise’s challenge would be a certain red card in the modern game, only Butt was reprimanded for the afters.

Poyet got a second 10 minutes after half time while a Henning Berg own goal and a Jody Morris strike which went through Taibi’s legs wrapped up the Chelsea victory.

That was United’s first defeat of the Premiership season, and Fergie’s side would only lose two more games as they defended their crown with a then-record total of 91 points.

Man Utd 1-6 Man City (October 2011)

The Liverpool thrashing probably pips this one to the title of ‘Most painful Premier League defeat’, but the stunning six-goal rout by City at Old Trafford still hurts United fans to even think about.

It was a tight match going into half time, with City 1-0 up through Mario Ballotelli who infamously celebrated with a top underneath his shirt that read “Why always me?”.

But when Johnny Evans was sent off in the 47th minute after bringing down Balotelli with the Italian through on goal, chaos began.

A second Balotelli goal and one for Aguero gave the visitors a 3-0 lead, and while Darren Fletcher got one back in the 81st minute, three goals in the final four minutes of the game featuring and Edin Dzeko brace a David Silva finish through De Gea’s legs completed a City victory at Old Trafford like no other before.

It felt like a defining moment for City, ‘the noisy neighbours’, who went five points clear at the top of the table and would go on to win their first Premier League title with that iconic Aguero goal in the final minutes of the season.

But Ferguson would not allow himself to bow out on such a sour note. He signed Robin Van Persie the following summer and took back the Premier League in 2012-13 before retiring.

READ: Fergie’s farewell gift: Robin van Persie’s fairytale debut season at Man Utd

Man Utd 1-6 Tottenham (October 2020)

Until Liverpool came to visit a year later, the embarrassment against Spurs was the lowest point for Solskjaer in the Premier League with Jose Mourinho all smiles on his return to Old Trafford.

Despite Bruno Fernandes calmly slotting home a penalty in the second minute, United quickly found themselves 2-1 down with Spurs’ goals coming through Tanguy Ndombele and Son Heung-Min.

Things really heated up when Anthony Martial was sent off after being deemed to have struck Erik Lamela in the face, the Argentinian’s theatrics no doubt helping convince the referee Martial deserved to see red.

It was 4-1 by half time, Kane and Son taking advantage of United’s defence being in total disarray, but mercifully the second half only saw a Serge Aurier strike and Kane penalty go past David De Gea.

United responded well to the thumping, losing just once in their next 16 Premier League games and finishing second overall in the table.

Meanwhile, Spurs capitulated under Mourinho, who found himself sacked before the season could finish. His penultimate game was the reverse fixture against United, with Solskjaer’s determined Red Devils spearheaded by Edison Cavani getting their revenge in a 3-1 victory in North London.


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