By Phil Leake, PA Sport Data Journalist
Manchester United ended Saturday bottom of the Premier League for the first time since August 1992.
This is the first season since the inaugural Premier League campaign in which a United team has lost their opening two fixtures.
On that occasion, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost 2-1 at Sheffield United on the opening day – with Brian Deane scoring the competition’s first-ever goal – and followed that up with a 3-0 home defeat to Everton.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 13, 2022
That left United bottom for three days from August 19 to 21, but they recovered in emphatic style to become the first-ever Premier League champions.
Barring a heavy defeat for Nottingham Forest or West Ham tomorrow, or Crystal Palace on Monday, Erik ten Hag’s outfit will remain at the foot of the table at least until next weekend – when they play Liverpool.
Poor start can be springboard for success
Man Utd started poorly on a few separate occasions under Ferguson, before going on to win the league.
Back in 1992, a 1-1 home draw against Ipswich on August 22 was enough to lift them off the foot of the table and they never looked back, losing just four matches out of their remaining 39.
United won the title with 84 points from 42 games – 10 points clear of second-placed Aston Villa.
Three years later in 1995, an opening day defeat to Villa on August 19 saw them sit 19th out of 20 teams for three days until Bolton slipped below them.
The loss to Villa prompted Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen to declare that “you don’t win anything with kids”, but their stay in the relegation zone was short-lived as a run of five wins followed and they ended up winning the league and FA Cup double that season.
Fast forward to August 25, 2007 when a three-match winless start – draws against Reading and Portsmouth before a 1-0 defeat in the Manchester derby – left them 19th again.
That was the catalyst for an eight-match winning run and the season ended with United as both Premier League and Champions League winners.
In total, the Red Devils had spent just 12 days in the Premier League bottom three – all in August – prior to this season.