Manchester United’s Biggest Premier League Defeats



Manchester United were humiliated by Tottenham on Sunday | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham; just the latest in a remarkably long line of humiliating Premier League defeats for the Red Devils.

The defeat has hurt the club’s supporters to the core, rendering the memories of 13 top-flight titles under Sir Alex Ferguson to the absolute back of everyone’s minds.

Bizarrely, for all their success, United have also taken a fair few pastings in the Premier League, though few hurt as much as getting walloped on your own patch. So in time old tradition, 90min have decided to benefit from the misery and take a look at United’s biggest ever Premier League defeats, starting, ironically, in north London.

MAN U V QPRWilliam Prunier never played for United again after this defeat | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Yes, things get underway with a thumping defeat to Spurs, but not the one you may be thinking of.

Back in January 1996, a trip to White Hart Lane ended in a rare loss for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side as they were trollied 4-1. French centre-half William Prunier was made a scapegoat for the humiliating result and never made another appearance for United.

He was later voted as the sixth-worst player in United’s history, but went on to revive his career and was even was named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year for the 2002/03 season.

Robbie Fowler of Manchester City celebrates scoring his first goal for his new club and also scoring the winning goal with team-mates Kevin Horlock and Shaun Wright-PhillipsRobbie Fowler and Shaun Wright-Phillips scored for Manchester City | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Even in the days before Manchester City’s millions, United’s noisy neighbours delivered a devastating defeat.

The old and the new combined for the Cityzens on the day in 2004 with Robbie Fowler and Shaun Wright-Phillips contributing to what was just Ferguson’s third defeat – at the time – against the old enemy.

It completed a disastrous week for the Red Devils, with the 4-1 scoreline leaving them 12 points behind Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table just days after Jose Mourinho’s Porto had dumped them out of the Champions League.

Roy KeaneRoy Keane never played for United again after the Middlesbrough game | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Middlesbrough’s 4-1 mauling in 2005 was another result that saw a United player pull on the famous red shirt for the final time, although he was far more significant figure than Prunier.

A Gaizka Mendieta inspired Boro led to Roy Keane making his infamous explosive rant on MUTV, which sparked the end of his Old Trafford career.

Keane moved to Celtic just a few months later, and United moved to second following an eleven match unbeaten run, but that was as good as it got that season with Chelsea taking the title.

Liverpool's English midfielder Steven GeTorres, Gerrard and co. thrashed United to seven points clear at the top of the table in 2009 | ANDREW YATES/Getty Images

Preceded by Rafael Benitez’s famous ‘facts’ speech, Liverpool came to the Theatre of Dreams in March 2009 and appeared to destroy United’s ambitions of winning a third consecutive title.

Fernando Torres gave Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic the run-around, Andrea Dossena scored a wonderful goal and Steven Gerrard kissed the camera.

It was United’s heaviest home defeat in 17 years at the time, and it opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the table. Unfortunately for the Reds though, they couldn’t hang on.

Matt Le TissierA Matt Le Tissier masterclass inspired a big win for the Saints | Getty Images/Getty Images

This match was played six months after the ‘grey shirt’ fiasco, when United lost 3-1 and changed their away kit at half-time amid claims the players couldn’t see each other. This time, there could be no such excuses.

Matt Le Tissier chipped in a delightful pick of the goals as Southampton pulled off a remarkable 6-3 victory against a team consisting of Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona, as well as the majority of the class of ’92.

United followed it up with a loss at home to Chelsea before embarking on a 16-game unbeaten streak that fired them to the 1996/97 Premier League crown.

Eden Hazard, Diego CostaHazard got the third goal in Chelsea’s impressive victory | Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

It was meant to be a day to remember for Mourinho as he returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time as United’s new manager in 2016, and it was – just for all the wrong reasons.

Pedro scored inside a minute and the Blues didn’t take their foot off the gas. Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and even N’Golo Kante got in on the act as Antonio Conte’s Chelsea exploited some dodgy defending, a problem that continues to plague United to this day.

Somehow Mourinho’s men’s resulting 25 match unbeaten streak couldn’t lift them any higher than sixth, but a Europe League victory saved their season.

Alan Shearer, Les FerdinandAlan Shearer and Les Ferdinand scored for Newcastle in 1996 | Ben Radford/Getty Images

A trip to St. James’ Park was the beginning of an awful week for United in October 1996.

Darren Peacock, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer were the goalscorers before Philippe Albert’s iconic – and divine – chip sealed a sensational 5-0 win, a defeat that Ferguson blamed on his side’s midweek trip to Turkey in the Champions League.

The thrashing was compounded by that 6-3 defeat to Southampton, which came just a few days later.

Gustavo Poyet of ChelseaGustavo Poyet scored after just 27 seconds | Ben Radford/Getty Images

On a 29-game unbeaten run just months after securing their famous treble, United imploded in impressive style.

Gus Poyet scored after just 27 seconds, Massimo Taibi – wearing some sexy trousers – ended his United career before it had even begun (kicking off a nightmare spell of replacements for Schmeichel) while Nicky Butt was sent off for a petulant kick on Dennis Wise.

The Red Devils recovered well though and ended up storming to the Premier League title, finishing a huge 18 points clear of second-placed Arsenal.

Manchester City's Italian striker MarioMario Balotelli revealed his famous ‘Why always me?’ message | ANDREW YATES/Getty Images

Who could forget the most famous Manchester derby in the Premier League era? Roberto Mancini’s men arrived at Old Trafford in October 2011 after being dubbed the ‘noisy neighbours’ following their last-minute defeat to Michael Owen’s injury-time goal two years previously.

But they certainly made themselves heard this time around. It was United’s worst home defeat since February 1955, and the first time they had conceded six at home since being smashed 7-4 by Newcastle in 1930/31.

It looked as though Ferguson would have the last laugh though as City’s lead at the top of the table slowly deteriorated before United stumbled themselves. It all led to the most iconic ending to a Premier League season to date…

Harry Kane, Lucas MouraSpurs humiliated United on Sunday | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Many were predicting a cagey affair in the build-up to Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford return, but it was anything but.

United couldn’t have wished for a better start as Bruno Fernandes tucked away yet another a penalty after just 90 seconds, but things quickly went downhill after.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described it as his “worst day as Manchester United manager” as Tanguy Ndombele, Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Serge Aurier tucked in after Anthony Martial’s silly red card when the score was just 2-1.

A dismal display, and one that turned up the furnace on United’s under pressure hierarchy.



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