A result featuring hat-tricks for Phil Foden and Erling Haaland, and which could have been even more emphatic but for two meaningless late Anthony Martial consolations, was only the fourth time United have conceded six in a Premier League game and made City the first team to inflict that fate twice.
Here, the PA news agency looks at United’s worst defensive days in the competition.
Hit for six
Sunday was the first time United have conceded six since their defeat to Tottenham almost exactly two years ago, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane scoring twice apiece in a 6-1 raid at Old Trafford.
City also won 6-1 in October 2011, Sergio Aguero adding to Mario Balotelli’s memorable double before two late Edin Dzeko goals and one from David Silva completed the rout.
The other occasion came in October 1996 against Southampton when Egil Ostenstad’s hat-trick led Saints to a 6-3 win.
All four of those results came in the month of October, as did three of the four occasions United have conceded five in a Premier League defeat.
Newcastle won 5-0 the week before the Southampton game in 1996 and United lost 5-0 at Chelsea exactly 23 years ago on October 3, 1999.
Liverpool won 5-0 at Old Trafford in October 2021 and, even the one exception, Leicester’s 5-3 win in 2014, came on September 21. United also conceded five to West Brom in Ferguson’s last match in charge in May 2013, though that came in a bizarre 5-5 draw.
The departure of Ferguson after that wild afternoon at the Hawthorns has famously sparked a decline from United’s glory years, with 13 Premier League titles under the Scot and none since as City have dominated the picture.
A large share of United’s heaviest defeats have come in that time, with the comparison even more stark when widening the field to include games with four goals conceded.
Ferguson’s 21 seasons in the Premier League, after its rebranding in 1992, saw his side concede four or more goals in a defeat on 10 occasions, with the time since – nine completed seasons plus the one in progress – already accounting for 14 such results.
Half of those have come in the last two seasons, including humiliating 4-0 losses to Brentford this season and Brighton at the end of the last campaign, plus the 4-1 defeat at Watford which proved the final blow for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time as manager.
Sunday’s game saw Haaland and Foden contribute a quarter of the Premier League hat-tricks ever scored against United.
Ostenstad scored the first and it was nearly a decade before his achievement was matched by David Bentley in Blackburn’s 4-3 win at Ewood Park in February 2006.
Dirk Kuyt scored all of Liverpool’s goals in a 3-1 win in March 2011, as did Samuel Eto’o for Chelsea almost three years later, with Romelu Lukaku netting a hat-trick for West Brom in Ferguson’s farewell.
After Eto’o it was over seven years before United conceded another league treble, to Mohamed Salah in Liverpool’s 5-0 win at Old Trafford last season, and Haaland became the seventh man to achieve the feat with Foden adding number eight just nine minutes later.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies