United’s defeat to Manuel Pellegrini’s City may have ended hopes of Champions League football and it will be of little consolation to Red Devils fans that it could, and indeed has, been much worse. That Derby day loss may also loosen David Moyes’ grip on the manager’s job as he shortens to 4.40
But City aren’t the only team to have handed United the occasional thrashing and here are the club’s five worst defeats in the history of the Premier League.
5. Manchester United 1 Liverpool 4, March 2009
United have conceded four on a number of occasions but it was rare for Alex Ferguson’s side to crumble at home in the way they did against Liverpool in 2008/09. A sending off was key, as Nemanja Vidic was dismissed 15 minutes from time, with the game delicately poised at 2-1.
The result was even more surprising as Cristiano Ronaldo had given his side the lead but goals from Fernando Torres and a Steven Gerrard spot kick gave the Reds the advantage before Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena took advantage of Vidic’s red card to seal a memorable scoreline.
4. Southampton 6 Manchester United 3, October 1996
United often struggled at The Dell and on this occasion received a real thrashing from relegation battlers Southampton. The Saints had a strong side that pivoted around the creative force of Matt Le Tissier but this was one of the few occasions where they played to their full potential.
Eyal Berkovic put Southampton into the lead but the sending off of Roy Keane was crucial to the pattern of the game. Saints used the extra man to full advantage with Egil Ostenstad scoring a hat-trick alongside goals from Le Tissier and a second for Berkovic. David Beckham, David May and Paul Scholes were on the scoresheet for Ferguson’s men.
3. Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0, October 1996
Just a week before the defeat to Southampton, came an even heavier loss. Newcastle’s Kevin Keegan would have loved watching this as the Magpies ran riot at St James’s Park to condemn United to one of their biggest ever Premier League defeats. At that stage, the home side were serious contenders for the Premiership title but few could have foreseen the rout that was in store for Ferguson’s side.
Peter Schmeichel was in goal for United but he could do little to prevent Darren Peacock opening the scoring before David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer made it four. The best, or worst depending on your point of view, was yet to come as Philippe Albert’s exquisite chip condemned Ferguson’s team to a humbling defeat.
2. Chelsea 5 Manchester United 0, October 1999
Instead of advocating a winter break, Manchester United may want to avoid playing any football in October with four of these five thrashings coming in that particular month. The 1999 Chelsea side were without Roman Abramovich’s billions but this was a competitive side who were particularly dangerous at Stamford Bridge.
Once again, a sending off proved crucial as Nicky Butt received a red after Gus Poyet had opened the scoring in the first minute. A man down, United capitulated as Poyet, Chris Sutton, Jody Morris and a Henning Berg own goal completed the rout.
1. Manchester United 1 Manchester City 6, October 2011
City had started the season brightly under Roberto Mancini but doubts still remained over the side’s ability to mount a credible challenge for the Premier League title. Those doubts evaporated in the space of just 90 minutes as United were completely outplayed in the second period.
City took a narrow, 1-0 lead at half time through a Mario Balotelli strike and there was little hint of the carnage that was to follow. United’s Jonny Evans saw red at the start of the second period before Balotelli added a second on the hour to double City’s lead.
Sergio Aguero added a third before Darren Fletcher gave the home side false hope with a goal on 81 minutes, but as United strived to get back into the game, defensive duties were forgotten as David Silva and an Edin Dzeko brace completed the scoring in injury time.
Afterwards, Ferguson described the loss as the worst defeat of his career.