Manchester United have officially made their worst ever start to a Premier League season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full campaign in charge lurched further towards mediocrity.
The Red Devils were held by Arsenal on Monday night courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser as a dreary game ended 1-1.
Solskjaer complained about the linesman raising his flag in the build-up to the Gunners’ goal, but the problems at Old Trafford run far deeper than questionable officiating.
Last season under Jose Mourinho, United made their worst ever Premier League start to a season, which ultimately saw the Portuguese tactician relieved of his duties before Christmas.
However, Solskjaer’s current crop of stars have now eclipsed that after the draw against Arsenal, a fixture which was once deemed a titanic tussle to determine who would finish the season as champions.
Courtesy of statistics collected by Opta, we now know United’s nine points from their first seven games is their lowest at this stage of a top flight season since 1989.
MANCHESTER UNITED AFTER SEVEN GAMES
Here are some of the best and worst starts to a Premier League season in United’s history
- 1992/93: 4 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses – 13 points
- 2002/03: 3 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses – 11 points
- 2009/10: 6 wins, 0 draws, 1 loss – 18 points
- 2013/14 (Moyes): 3 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses – 10 points
- 2014/15 (LVG): 3 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses – 11 points
- 2017/18 (Mourinho): 6 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses – 19 points
- 2018/19 (Mourinho): 3 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses – 10 points
- 2019/20 (Solskjaer): 2 wins, 3 draws, 2 defeats – 9 points
Even at Mourinho’s lowest ebb, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid maestro managed to accumulate 10 points at the same stage last season.
United have also won just two games this season; even David Moyes managed to win three of his opening games at the start of the 2013/14 season.
Solskjaer was appointed manager on a full-time basis in March after a successful interim period where he masterminded an extraordinary comeback in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital.
In the 21 games in all competitions since that famous night in Paris, United have won just five more times. This includes a penalty shoot-out win over Rochdale and a narrow Europa League triumph over Astana.
The last time United made such a poor start to a campaign was under Ferguson in the days of the old First Division.
United picked up only seven points from their first seven games of the 1989/90 season, a run which brought successive defeats to Derby, Norwich and Everton and ended with a famous 5-1 thrashing to Manchester City at Maine Road.
United ended up 13th that season, but lifted the FA Cup as Ferguson won his first trophy in England.
United’s best start to a season in recent years came in Mourinho’s last full season in charge. After seven games of the 2017/18 season, United were unbeaten and won six times.
The club went on to finish second, as well as reaching the FA Cup final. Despite winning the treble at Inter, Mourinho described this feat as ‘one of the best jobs of my career’.
The 56-year-old has won 25 trophies throughout his career, but perhaps this statement was an ominous warning to his successor about the size of the task he has in transforming Manchester United into contenders once again.
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