Manchester United out to match treble-winning side's record
Wednesday's trip to Fulham gives Manchester United the chance to equal a club record set by Sir Alex Ferguson's treble winners in 1998-99.
Manchester United's 0-0 draw away to Liverpool on Sunday left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "disappointed", the Norwegian adamant they did enough to end the Reds' remarkable long-standing unbeaten home run. But there were two silver linings; firstly, United remained top of the Premier League, and secondly, the point preserved their own exceptional streak without a defeat.
It ensured United's run without a defeat away from home in the Premier League would surpass a full year, having last suffered a domestic defeat on the road at Anfield on 19 January, 2020. Liverpool's win on that occasion took them 30 points clear of United in the table, but the obvious gulf between the two last season has not carried into 2020-21. United are away from home again on Wednesday as they go to Fulham, and avoiding defeat again will see them equal a club record.
16 - Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 16 away matches in the Premier League (W12 D4) – only once have they gone longer without a defeat on the road in the competition (17 games ending in September 1999). Striving. #LIVMNU pic.twitter.com/oLl3lSdNPv— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 17, 2021
United's treble winners
The last United team to go 17 away games unbeaten in the Premier League was Sir Alex Ferguson's famous treble-winning side in 1998-99. United's run started on 5 December and lasted until the following September, therefore playing a major role in the Red Devils securing the Premier League title ahead of Arsenal, pipping Arsène Wenger's men to the crown by a point.
They scored 34 goals and claimed nine wins in those 17 games and conceded 16. Should United avoid defeat to Fulham, statistically they appear set to improve of the 1998-99 team's run, as the current crop have already scored 36, conceded just 13 and won 12. But even if they ultimately fall at the final hurdle at Craven Cottage, they are safe in the knowledge that no other post-Ferguson United side registers in the top seven for the club's all-time top-flight unbeaten away runs.
Whether or not this run would have occurred if fans were in the stadiums is another matter, but it's unquestionable that progress is being made at Old Trafford - or, you know, away from Old Trafford...
A key factor in United's impressive run has been the character and resilience shown by them. They have rescued 18 points from losing positions on the road in 2020-21, which is already a record for a single Premier League season, bettering the 17 accumulating by Aston Villa (1993-94) and Newcastle United (2001-02). The previous best posted by United was 16 in 2002-03.
Certainly the pick of United's away comebacks this season was the 3-2 win at Southampton on November 29, as they fell 2-0 down before Edinson Cavani inspired a brilliant turnaround with two goals and an assist off the bench.
As laudable as United's current away form is, they are still some way off matching the Premier League's all-time record, however. Arsenal's 'Invincibles' hold that honour, having gone 27 matches unbeaten away from home in the top flight. That stretched from April 2003 to September 2004, spanning well over a full season as they comfortably beat the 23-game record they themselves set between August 2001 and September 2002.
The closest any team has got to either streak is Liverpool, who between January 2019 and February 2020 went 21 away games without defeat before they suffered a shock 3-0 defeat at Watford.
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