History suggests that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in for a tough night when Manchester United host Manchester City on Wednesday.
The Norweigian’s first couple of months in caretaker charge of the United squad couldn’t have gone better, as he recorded 14 wins from 17 matches across all competitions.
Unfortunately, the Red Devils have reverted to their old ways since then and six losses from their last eight have left the club facing the very real prospect of missing out on Champions League qualification.
A 4-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday compounded their misery but heading into the Manchester derby this evening, recent form is not the only thing which should be worrying supporters.
According to the Premier League’s official Twitter account, each of United’s last 3 permanent managers has lost their first top-flight encounter with Man City.
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 24, 2019
In 2013 David Moyes took his side to the Etihad Stadium only to be thrashed 4-1, while his successor Louis Van Gaal lost 1-0 at the same venue a year later.
Jose Mourinho fared little better at Old Trafford, overseeing a 2-1 defeat in 2016 which marked the beginning of a poor record for the Portuguese boss against the local rivals.
Solskjaer has a huge task ahead of him if he is to buck the recent trend of new United manager’s against City, but there is also a great deal of pressure on Pep Guardiola’s men, which could have a huge bearing on the final result.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 24, 2019
City must win to stay in pole position in this year’s title race, with Liverpool currently two points ahead at the top of the Premier League table having played a game more.
Maximum points between now and mid-May will see the reigning champions retain their crown, but any slip could allow the Reds to land their first title in 29 years.
United’s best hope of an unlikely victory is to rediscover the free-flowing attacking verve they had during the early stages of Solskjaer’s reign, with City still vulnerable defensively at the best of times.
Much could depend on how Solskjaer sets up, but if he can mastermind a famous victory he will earn plenty of plaudits and keep his name out of the record books for the wrong reasons in the process.