Soccer

Home discomfort – Man Utd’s Old Trafford woes as Bournemouth inflict latest loss

Erik ten Hag suffered another miserable home defeat (Martin Rickett/PA)
Erik ten Hag suffered another miserable home defeat (Martin Rickett/PA) Erik ten Hag suffered another miserable home defeat (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United’s comprehensive defeat by Bournemouth means they have lost more home league games in the 10 years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement than they did in his 21 Premier League seasons at Old Trafford.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the declining status of the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

Home invasion

Erik ten Hag shouts instructions to his Manchester United players against Bournemouth
Erik ten Hag shouts instructions to his Manchester United players against Bournemouth Erik ten Hag suffered another miserable home defeat (Martin Rickett/PA)

While Ferguson took charge of United in 1986, United’s dominant era began after the top flight’s breakaway and rebranding in 1992.

From that point until his retirement in 2013, United lost only 34 home Premier League games at an average of 1.6 per season.

Bournemouth on Saturday inflicted the 35th in less than 10 and a half seasons since with a 3-0 rout of Erik ten Hag’s side that could have been even more emphatic.

It was the Cherries’ first ever win at Old Trafford and Andoni Iraola’s side are by no means the first of the Premier League’s lesser names to shock United at home since Ferguson’s exit.

While Manchester City have six wins on enemy turf and Liverpool and Tottenham three each, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all suffered home defeats to West Brom while Crystal Palace twice defeated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team and also won 1-0 this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford Ole Gunnar Solskjaer presided over a poor home record (Richard Heathcote/PA)

The teams to win three times or more at Old Trafford in Ferguson’s Premier League tenure are topped by Chelsea with six wins and Liverpool four. Arsenal and Man City managed three apiece and even the one surprise name, Middlesbrough, were in an era when they won a League Cup and could boast players such as Juninho, Gaizka Mendieta and Alen Boksic in their line-ups.

United have already lost at home this season to Brighton, Palace, Man City and Bournemouth. Only once under Ferguson did they lose four or more Premier League home games in a season, six in 2001-02.

They topped that mark in the first season after his departure with seven, and also had six in 2020-21 and four in 2021-22.

Solskjaer’s reign accounts for 13 of the 35 home losses, with six for Moyes and Ten Hag joining his countryman Van Gaal on five. Mourinho had four, with one each for Giggs and Ralf Rangnick.

Season of struggle

United’s seven losses in 16 games home and away is their most at this stage of a Premier League season – indeed, on 19 occasions out of 31 they have gone a full campaign with fewer defeats.

The last time United racked up as many losses this early was in 1989-90, when they finished 13th but an FA Cup win saved Ferguson’s job.

They have a negative goal difference at this stage – scoring 18 league goals and conceding 21 – for the first time since 1986-87, when Ferguson replaced the sacked Ron Atkinson.

Scott McTominay is their Premier League top scorer with five goals. Bruno Fernandes (three) and Marcus Rashford (two) are the only other players to score more than once, ranking joint-lowest with Sheffield United, Luton, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace in that category.

They are the only team in England’s top four tiers not to have drawn a league game this season and that run stretches 23 games in all, since April’s 2-2 draw with Spurs. That is United’s longest such run since the 1934-35 season.