Manchester United's 20 Worst Premier League Defeats
This Sunday sees the 18th anniversary of one of Manchester United's darkest days in the Premier League.
Until their recent struggles under David Moyes, the Red Devils were used to being the masters of all that they surveyed in the division, but that wasn't the case when they went to The Dell to take on Southampton on 26th October 1996.
Six months after another high-profile defeat to the Saints at their tight, tough-to-negotiate home ground, Ferguson's men lost a chaotic game 6-3, a defeat that came just six days after they were beaten 5-0 by Newcastle United at St James's Park.
At the time there was talk of a crisis at Old Trafford, but we all know how Ferguson recovered and continued to build a dynasty at one of the institutions of English football.
All teams have their bad days, though, and it is time to remember some of United's.
Here are 20 of the Red Devils' worst Premier League defeats.
Manchester United 0 Everton 3, 1992
It's difficult to imagine now given what came next, but United made a disastrous start to the newly formed Premier League in 1992, losing at Sheffield United on the opening day before being completely outclassed by Everton in a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
The Merseysiders swarmed all over their hosts to comprehensively beat them thanks to goals from Peter Beardsley, Robert Warzycha and—after Peter Schmeichel went walkabout—a third from Mo Johnston to embarrass United.
Aston Villa 3 Manchester United 1, 1995
"You don't win anything with kids."
Pundit Alan Hansen's withering opinion of United on Match of the Day after the opening day of the 1995/96 season was shared by many after a Red Devils side featuring Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary and Phil Neville and substitute David Beckham (who scored) lost 3-1 to Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Ian Taylor, Mark Draper and Dwight Yorke scored for the hosts to put them 3-0 up at half-time—the latter with a penalty—but we of course we all know what happened next, especially Hansen.
Tottenham Hotspur 4 Manchester United 1, 1996
United suffered a New Year's Day hangover at White Hart Lane as they were blown away by a ruthless Tottenham side.
With three of the usual United back four injured, Scholes ill and Schmeichel picked despite suffering from a calf injury, Spurs sensed a weakness in their opponents and went for them from the off.
It resulted in two goals for Chris Armstrong, a Teddy Sheringham strike and a Sol Campbell goal which made Andy Cole's strike a mere consolation.
Southampton 3 Manchester United 1, 1996
It's a game which has gone down in Premier League infamy, and United invented one of the all-time sporting excuses when they found themselves 3-0 down at half-time to Southampton at The Dell in 1996.
Ken Monkou, Neil Shipperley and Matt Le Tissier had struck to completely blow away the visitors, who then emerged for the second half in their blue-and-white change strip. It worked to a degree, with Ryan Giggs pulling back a late goal, but this remains a day that United fans can only cringe at.
"The players don't like the grey strip," said Ferguson afterwards. "They find it difficult to pick each other out. We had to change the strip."
You'd better start in that kit next time then...
Newcastle 5 Manchester United 0, 1996
Before they went back to The Dell, though, United headed up to the other end of the country and to Newcastle in October 1996 for what turned out to be one of the greatest days in the Magpies' history.
Kevin Keegan's entertaining side simply blew away their opponents as goals from Darren Peacock, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and unforgettably, Philippe Albert with a sublime chip over Schmeichel from the edge of the box, completed a stunning rout.
Southampton 6 Manchester United 3, 1996
Six days after Newcastle and six months after they changed shirts at The Dell, United were back in Southampton in their blue-and-white shirts. It'd be different this time, right? Well yes, kind of.
Eyal Berkovic gave Saints an early lead before Roy Keane was sent off for two bookable offences just 20 minutes in. Le Tissier then memorably chipped Schmeichel (a la Albert) before Beckham and Egil Ostenstad swapped goals to make it 3-1 at half-time.
David May brought the 10 men back into it at 3-2, before Berkovic struck again and Ostenstad grabbed two more either side of a Scholes goal to complete a remarkable 6-3 scoreline.
Chelsea 5 Manchester United 0, 1999
Even before the Roman Abramovich money Chelsea had a reputation for always giving United troubles, and so it proved here on a raucous day at Stamford Bridge when they emphatically ended United's 29-game unbeaten league run.
With Massimo Taibi famously in goal for United, Gus Poyet and Chris Sutton put Chelsea 2-0 (the latter scoring his one and only league goal for Chelsea) before Nicky Butt was sent off for the visitors.
Poyet, a Henning Berg own goal and Jody Morris completed the scoring on a day when Gianluca Vialli's Blues were rampant.
Manchester United 0 Arsenal 1, 2002
It is one thing to lose a league title, but it is quite another to lose it by suffering a defeat on your own ground to a side who sealed the Double with the three points.
Sylvain Wiltord's strike gave Arsenal a 1-0 win at Old Trafford at the tail end of the 2001/02 season, ensuring that the Gunners would add the league title to their FA Cup success at the most satisfying of venues.
On the same night, Liverpool's 4-3 win over Blackburn helped the Reds finish second ahead of United, whose third-place finish was one of their worst under Ferguson in the Premier League.
Manchester City 4 Manchester United 1. 2004
Before the money hit Manchester City, they were used to painful defeats to their neighbours in Manchester derbies, but the tide was turned on this afternoon on what was the first derby at what is now known as the Etihad Stadium.
City inflicted only a third derby defeat on Ferguson for 17 years as Robbie Fowler, Jon Macken, Trevor Sinclair and Shaun Wright-Phillips found the net, with a Scholes strike which had made it 2-1 offering scant consolation to the well-beaten visitors.
Middlesbrough 4 Manchester United 1, 2005
Middlesbrough's band of experienced stars blew away United on a chaotic evening on Teesside, when the hosts raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time.
Gaizka Mendieta's shot from distance beat Edwin van der Sar, before a further goal from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and a Yakubu penalty made it three. Mendieta grabbed another one in the second half to make it 4-0, with Cristiano Ronaldo's late header proving pretty meaningless.
We'll leave it to the commentators on the video to take it from here...
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 4, 2009
Liverpool got themselves right back in the title race in 2009 when they hammered United at Old Trafford despite falling behind to a Ronaldo penalty.
Vidic was sent off in the second half for hauling down Gerrard, with the game taken away from United when Fabio Aurelio curled in the resulting free-kick. Insult was then added to United's injury when Italian misfit Andrea Dossena lobbed Van der Sar to complete the scoring late on, with United falling to their heaviest home defeat for 17 years, and to the worst possible opposition.
Burnley 1 Manchester United 0, 2009
Burnley's first home Premier League match proved to be a fairly memorable one, as they beat champions United 1-0 at Turf Moor on a miserable night for Ferguson's men.
Robbie Blake's spectacular early volley gave the hosts the lead, before home goalkeeper Brian Jensen saved a penalty which was curiously taken by Michael Carrick despite United having both Wayne Rooney and new signing Michael Owen on the pitch.
The hosts held for a stunning win, which is still fondly remembered at the club to this day.
Fulham 3 Manchester United 0, 2009
Injuries meant that United fielded arguably the weakest defence they've ever named for a Premier League fixture for this clash at Craven Cottage, and Roy Hodgson's Fulham took full advantage.
With Tomasz Kuszczak in goal and a back four of Darren Fletcher, Ritchie De Laet, Carrick and Patrice Evra, United fell behind when Danny Murphy—a frequent scorer against them in his Liverpool days—fired home.
Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff grabbed second-half goals to extend the advantage, on a day that United fans have probably scrubbed from their minds.
Manchester United 2 Blackburn 3, 2011
It was New Year's Eve 2011, Ferguson's 70th birthday and United were at home to a bottom-of-the-table Blackburn Rovers side managed by Steve Kean, who had become something of a joke figure over the campaign. Easy home win, right? That's not really how football works out.
Rovers went 2-0 up through two strikes from Yakubu, the second a penalty, but United roared back and levelled within 10 minutes of the second goal through a double strike from Dimitar Berbatov.
Just as everyone watching was waiting for a United winner, Blackburn defender Grant Hanley headed a winning goal with 10 minutes remaining to stun Old Trafford and ruin Ferguson's big day.
Manchester United 1 Manchester City 6, 2011
Other than the aforementioned Southampton defeat, this remains the only other time that United have conceded six goals in a Premier League game. It certainly remains their most memorable home defeat in the division's history, too.
Mario Balotelli struck twice before the hour mark to establish City's dominance at Old Trafford before, with Jonny Evans sent off, Sergio Aguero added a third.
Darren Fletcher pulled one back for a well-beaten United, who then completely lost their discipline to concede three goals in stoppage time, with Edin Dzeko twice finding the net and David Silva also getting his name on the scoresheet. This was emphatic.
Wigan 1 Manchester United 0, 2012
Due to the nature of just how Manchester City won the 2011/12 Premier League title it is often forgotten that United pretty much threw it away.
Ferguson's men were eight points clear at the top of the table with six games to go when they went to a Wigan side who were battling to avoid relegation. A solitary goal from Shaun Maloney proved to be enough to give the Latics the three points.
It proved to be the start of United's careless tossing away of the title, as they draw 4-4 with Everton in a remarkable game before losing 1-0 to City and ultimately being pipped by their local rivals on the final day.
Manchester City 4 Manchester United 1, 2013
David Moyes was supposed to make Manchester United tougher to beat, but after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Everton boss suffered a humiliating loss in his first Manchester derby against a City side who would go on to become champions.
Two goals from Sergio Aguero and strikes from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri saw City race into a four-goal lead within the first 50 minutes, with a late Wayne Rooney free-kick all that United had to offer in response as they went down to a 4-1 defeat.
Things weren't about to get any better for Moyes, either.
Manchester United 1 West Bromwich Albion 2, 2013
Six days after that loss at the Etihad Stadium, Moyes desperately needed a good result when West Bromwich Albion came to Old Trafford.
Morgan Amalfitano put that result in serious doubt when he gave the Baggies the lead early in the second half, but Rooney got things back on track with the equaliser three minutes later.
Ten minutes later, though, young forward Saido Berahino blasted home from the edge of the box to seal a famous victory—West Brom's first win at Old Trafford for 35 years.
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3, 2014
For many United fans this was the final straw with Moyes, who had remarkably insisted that Liverpool were the favourites to win at Old Trafford—something that you could never have imagined Ferguson ever doing.
In the event, Moyes was right, but the sheer acknowledgement that this title-chasing Liverpool side was that much better than his ailing team was met with anger amongst United fans, who watched on as their team failed to really compete with their rivals.
Two penalties from Steven Gerrard—who missed a third spot kick—and a strike from Luis Suarez sealed the 3-0 victory, and Moyes was sacked after a 2-0 loss at former club Everton a month later.
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3, 2014
Out went Moyes, and in came Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and more. This is undoubtedly an exciting new era for United, but it has already featured one of their most remarkable defeats.
Robin van Persie and a sublime Di Maria chip put United 2-0 up, and although Leonardo Ulloa quickly pulled one back, a 57th-minute flick from Ander Herrera looked to have secured the points for United who were now 3-1 up. That wasn't the case.
Helped by a fortunate penalty award, Leicester roared back as David Nugent converted that spot-kick, Esteban Cambiasso fired in his first Foxes goal and then Jamie Vardy raced clear to amazingly make it 4-3.
Tyler Blackett then tripped Vardy and was sent off, with Ulloa converting the penalty to seal a remarkable win for the newly promoted side.