For 70 minutes yesterday, Manchester United served up about as dreadful a performance as you’re likely to see in the Premier League this season – or any season for that matter.
2-0 down and disappearing without a trace, United fans were having flashbacks of Goodison Park last season.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Solskjaer’s men blitzed their opponents with a three-goal salvo inside seven minutes.
Ultimately though, The Blades snatched a dramatic injury-time equaliser which they were awarded after a nervy delay while VAR reviewed the goal for a potential handball.
Even though United failed to hang on to their lead, this still felt like a point gained after such an abject display from the Old Trafford outfit.
But before the full-time whistle finished reverberating around the stadium, United fans were venting their displeasure at the result and performance on social media.
Though their frustrations were not without some justification, it’s now become textbook behaviour for a generation of supporters conceived during the glory years under Ferguson.
It may be difficult to imagine, but there were games under Fergie when United were absolutely atrocious and managed to steal some points.
Aston Villa 2-2 Man United – Sat 13 Nov 2010 – Premier League
Described as a ‘stirring fightback’ and a ‘thrilling 2-2 draw’, in reality, this was as dire as any performance served up since Sir Alex’s retirement.
Villa were leading 2-0 and looking comfortable thanks to an Ashley Young penalty and a Marc Albrighton strike. Turgid United had failed to register a single shot on target until Federico Macheda’s 81st-minute strike clawed one back for the visitors.
Captain Nemanja Vidic’s diving header completed the most undeserved of United comebacks 5 minutes from time.
Man United 1-1 Oldham Athletic – Sun 10 Apr 1994 – FA Cup Semi-Final
United were on course for an unprecedented domestic treble back in ’94 when it looked as though the wheels were about to come off their season.
After losing the League Cup Final to Aston Villa, they were hoping to bounce back against relegation battlers Oldham Athletic in an FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were massive favourites, but no one told Oldham who took a deserved 1-0 lead in extra-time. With just 9 seconds remaining on the clock, Nicky Butt lumped a hopeful ball into the Oldham penalty area where Mark Hughes was on hand to execute one of his trademark volleys and rescue his side.
United easily won the replay three days later and mauled a pre-Abramovich Chelsea team 4-0 in the final.
Chelsea 3-3 Man United – Sun 5 Feb 2012 – Premier League
In what was billed as a potential title decider, few could believe their eyes at how easily United capitulated at the hands of rivals Chelsea.
The Blues raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to two scrappy goals sandwiched either side of a Juan Mata ‘Goal of the Season’ contender. But the Reds began their ‘remarkable comeback’ thanks to two penalties from Wayne Rooney after Patrice Evra and – more contentiously – Danny Welbeck were adjudged to have been fouled in the box.
Javier Hernandez pulled it back to 3-3 with a close-range header 6 minutes from time, earning his side an unlikely point.
Man United 2-1 Liverpool – Sun 24 Jan 1999 – FA Cup 3rd Round
Back in the early part of ’99, Liverpool came to Old Trafford hoping to end United’s dreams of an unprecedented ‘Treble’ by dumping them out of the FA Cup.
Things appeared to be going to plan when Michael Owen’s second-minute header gave Liverpool the lead. For 88 long minutes, it looked as though that strike would be enough to see his side progress to the fifth round. That was until United were awarded a dubious free-kick on edge of the box and Dwight Yorke steered the ball home from close range.
The United fans had barely stopped giving Liverpool supporters the fingers when Ole Solskjaer drilled a low left-foot shot past calamity James to give his side the win.
Aston Villa 2-3 Man United – Sat 10 Nov 2012 – Premier League
It’s fair to say Villa could have their own article if you throw in the FA Cup game from 2002 and the Macheda winner in 2009. But this was perhaps the cruellest defeat of the lot, given how totally sh*te United were for almost two-thirds of this game.
Sir Alex’s side could barely string three passes together for the first hour of this contest, never mind score 3 goals. Strikes either side of half-time from Austrian Andreas Weimann gave The Villains a comfortable 2-0 lead. But cometh the hour, cometh the man and half-time substitute Javier Hernandez drew United level with a five-minute brace.
The diminutive Mexican Fergied the life clean out of the game with an 87th-minute winner after stooping to head home Robin van Persie’s free-kick.
Man United 2-1 Bayern Munich – Wed 26 May 1999 – Champions League Final
The record books will show that Manchester United won the game 2-1, but that doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. Fergie’s side fell behind after six minutes to Mario Basler’s free-kick and never regained control of the game until injury time.
United’s makeshift midfield pairing of Butt and Beckham were given the run-around all evening and but for a mixture of poor finishing and the woodwork, they would have been dead and buried long before Sheringham’s 91st-minute strike.
But, Sir Alex’s side rode their luck and never gave up hope. Current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 93rd-minute goal snatched his side a victory from the jaws of defeat and the rest, as they say, is history.