Manchester United may have failed to beat – from the bottom of the table up – Watford, West Ham, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Southampton, Burnley, Everton, Wolves and Sheffield United at one point or another this season.

But that is what makes their record under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against the top clubs so remarkable and utterly bizarre. Beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, which was also the first league double over the Blues since 1987/88, was just a continuation of that.

Anthony Martial

United had already won at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup this season, while there have also been two victories against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the last two months.

In five away games against Chelsea and City in all competitions since his return to United last season, Solskjaer has won all of them – he’s 5-0.

And while he may have recently found himself to be statistically the worst United manager of the last 40 years, that perfect 100% record at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad specifically is actually better than his four predecessors combined.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,Pep Guardiola

In United’s previous 20 away games against Chelsea and City in all competitions – stretching back to the start of 2012  Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho only managed five wins between them. Ferguson alone was responsible for three of those victories and didn’t manage any of them consecutively, as Solskjaer has achieved.

Man Utd Away Record vs Chelsea & Man City Since Start of 2012 (25 Games):

Date​MatchCompetition​United Manager​
​17 Feb 2020​Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd​Premier League​Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (W)
​29 Jan 2020​Man City 0-1 Man UtdLeague Cup​​Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (W)
​7 Dec 2019Man City 1-2 Man Utd​Premier League​​Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (W)
​30 Oct 2019​Chelsea 1-2 Man UtdLeague Cup​Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (W)
​18 Feb 2019Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd​FA Cup​​Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (W)
​11 Nov 2018​Man City 3-1 Man UtdPremier League​Jose Mourinho (L)​
​20 Oct 2018​Chelsea 2-2 Man UtdPremier League​Jose Mourinho (D)​
7 Apr 2018​Man City 2-3 Man Utd​Premier League​Jose Mourinho (W)​
​5 Nov 2017​Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd​Premier League​Jose Mourinho (L)
27 Apr 2017​Man City 0-0 Man Utd​Premier League​Jose Mourinho (D)​
​13 Mar 2017​Chelsea 1-0 Man UtdFA Cup​Jose Mourinho (L)​
​23 Oct 2016Chelsea 4-0 Man Utd​Premier League​Jose Mourinho (L)​
​20 Mar 2016Man City 0-1 Man Utd​Premier League​Louis van Gaal (W)​
7 Feb 2016​Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd​Premier League​Louis van Gaal (D)​
​18 Apr 2015​Chelsea 1-0 Man UtdPremier League​Louis van Gaal (L)​
2 Nov 2014​Man City 1-0 Man Utd​Premier League​Louis van Gaal (L)​
19 Jan 2014Chelsea 3-1 Man Utd​Premier League​David Moyes (L)
​22 Sep 2013Man City 4-1 Man Utd​Premier League​David Moyes (L)​
1 Apr 2013​Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd​FA Cup​Sir Alex Ferguson (L)​
9 Dec 2012​Man City 2-3 Man Utd​Premier League​Sir Alex Ferguson (W)​
31 Oct 2012​Chelsea 5-4 Man Utd​League Cup​Sir Alex Ferguson (L)​
​28 Oct 2012Chelsea 2-3 Man Utd​Premier League​Sir Alex Ferguson (W)​
​30 Apr 2012​Man City 1-0 Man Utd​Premier LeagueSir Alex Ferguson (L)​
5 Feb 2012​Chelsea 3-3 Man Utd​Premier League​Sir Alex Ferguson (D)​
​8 Jan 2012Man City 2-3 Man Utd​FA Cup​Sir Alex Ferguson (W)​

Note: excludes 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in 2018 FA Cup final - neutral venue

Victory against Chelsea on Monday, a 2-0 scoreline secured by goals from Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire, put United within three points of the top four. Given City’s UEFA ban, fifth place should be enough to qualify for the Champions League, and United are only two points back.

It makes a win against a relegation fighting Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday absolutely crucial to build momentum and ensure that beating Chelsea was not a pointless exercise. But remember that list of clubs you read at the start of this article? Yeah, that.

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