Manchester United have built a reputation on their never say die attitude throughout the Premier League era, underpinning a lot of the club’s success over the last 30 years.
The ability to come from behind and turn potential defeats into wins has become a core part of the club’s fabric and various United teams have regularly pulled off impressive comebacks.
Here’s a look at 20 of Manchester United’s best Premier League comebacks…
United scorers: Chris Smalling (55), Romelu Lukaku (76), Nemanja Matic (90+1)
Having beaten Chelsea a week earlier, United found themselves 2-0 down shortly after half-time against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in early March 2018. The title race was already over but second place and a highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired was still to play for.
The comeback started with a Chris Smalling header and was completed by a dipping 25-yard effort from Nemanja Matic in stoppage time.
United scorers: Ryan Giggs (46), Andrew Cole (59), Paul Scholes (74), Quinton Fortune (88)
A dominant United moved to within two wins of retaining their Premier League title with a thrilling 4-3 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in April 2000.
Boro actually scored first through homegrown hero Andy Campbell, only for United to then score three without reply, including a stunner from Paul Scholes, and even fight off a late comeback.
United scorers: Eric Cantona (52, 78), Roy Keane (87)
United were reigning Premier League champions in 1993 but went 2-0 down in just over half an hour at Maine Road in the first Manchester derby of the 1993/94 campaign.
Eric Cantona pulled one back after half-time and eventually equalised with just over 10 minutes remaining. Roy Keane, in his debut season with the club, then got a dramatic late winner.
United scorers: Dimitar Berbatov (72, 88), Javier Hernandez (78)
Blackpool were a surprise package in the Premier League in 2010/11 and threatened to stun United during a clash at Bloomfield Road just two weeks after the Tangerines had beaten Liverpool.
United were 2-0 down at half-time and it took a brace from Dimitar Berbatov either side of one from Javier Hernandez, all inside the final 20 minutes, to pull off the comeback win. Hernandez was a game-changer from the bench and United went five points clear.
United scorers: Juan Mata (70), Anthony Martial (76), Alexis Sanchez (90)
Speculation on the morning of Newcastle’s visit to Old Trafford in October 2018 was rife that Jose Mourinho would lose his job regardless of the result.
That turned out not to be the case, but things looked bad when Newcastle took a 2-0 lead inside ten minutes. It remained that way until well into the second half, but quick-fire goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial set up a platform for a rare Alexis Sanchez winner.
United scorers: Eric Cantona (45), Andrei Kanchelskis (52, 82), Mark Hughes (67)
Blackburn were United’s biggest rivals for a period in the mid-1990s, having finished second in 1993/94 and narrowly winning the Premier League title themselves ahead of the otherwise dominant Red Devils in 1994/95.
United went behind twice in a famous game at Ewood Park in the autumn of 1994, but equalised both times and eventually made a man advantage count late on to secure the win following a first-half red card for Rovers defender Henning Berg.
United scorers: Bruno Fernandes (60), Edinson Cavani (74, 90+2)
United made a habit of conceding the first goal away from home throughout the 2020/21 season. But against Southampton at St Mary’s they gave themselves an even bigger 2-0 mountain to climb.
Half-time substitute Edinson Cavani proved to be the hero of the day, scoring an equaliser after Bruno Fernandes had pulled one back and going on to secure a stoppage-time winner.
United scorers: David Beckham (36), Ruud van Nistelrooy (51, 53)
United came close to being embarrassed by newly-promoted Fulham at Old Trafford on the opening day of the 2001/02 season, with Ruud van Nistelrooy’s brace on his Premier League debut sparing the blushes.
Future United striker Louis Saha put a plucky Fulham side ahead twice either side of a David Beckham free kick, but it was Van Nistelrooy’s quick-fire brace after half-time that proved to be decisive.
United scorers: Wayne Rooney (65, 73, 79), Javier Hernandez (84)
Gunning for a record-breaking 19th league title, United fans must have feared the worst at Upton Park in April 2011 when West Ham were still leading 2-0 with less than half an hour left to play.
Step forward, Wayne Rooney. In 15 second-half minutes, the United talisman erased West Ham’s lead and put the visitors ahead. His first two goals of the day were particular beauties, one a 25-yard free-kick.
United scorers: own goal (18), Cristiano Ronaldo (54, 58), John O’Shea (88)
Arsenal were still reigning Premier League champions in February 2005, having been ‘Invincible’ the season before. Even though United had ended that record the previous October, the Gunners were big favourites to beat a developing side at Highbury.
Arsenal took the lead twice in the first half, but the difference was made by Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice in quick succession four days before his 20th birthday. John O’Shea’s late chip to seal it was sublime.
United scorers: Paul Scholes (61), Michael Carrick (72), Park Ji-sung (83), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (90)
76,098 people saw United come from behind against Blackburn at Old Trafford en route to winning the 2006/07 Premier League title, which remains a club record in the modern all-seater era.
The visitors had taken the lead through Matt Derbyshire, but Paul Scholes’ jinking run and finish got United back into the game and a late flurry of goals followed, including Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last for the club before retiring.
United scorers: Jonny Evans (25), Patrice Evra (58), Robin van Persie (71), Javier Hernandez (90)
In a pulsating Boxing Day match, United trailed three times against Newcastle at Old Trafford in December 2012, with a 4-3 comeback eventually sending them seven points clear at the top of the table.
Newcastle took the lead on three occasions in the game but were pegged back each time. It wasn’t until the death that Sir Alex Ferguson’s team went in front for the first time, courtesy of Javier Hernandez.
United scorers: John O’Shea (61), own goal (68), Wayne Rooney (79), Chris Eagles (90+3)
Having gone four years without a Premier League title, United effectively put one hand on the trophy with this win over Everton, going five points clear of back-to-back reigning champions Chelsea with only three games to play.
Everton scored early in both halves, threatening to derail United’s title dreams. But four goals in the final half hour, including an unfortunate own goal from ex-Old Trafford star Phil Neville, turned the game on its head.
United scorers: Paul Pogba (53, 55), Chris Smalling (69)
Headlines before a famous Manchester derby in 2018 were dominated by Pep Guardiola’s claims that Paul Pogba had been offered to City only a few months earlier. The Frenchman then played a huge part in United’s win.
A City victory would have meant sealing the Premier League title in record-breaking fashion and it was heading that way when they led 2-0 inside 30 minutes. But Pogba’s quick-fire brace and Chris Smalling’s winner ruined the party.
United scorers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (32), Paul Scholes (34, 38, 52), Ryan Giggs (44), Ruud van Nistelrooy (58)
This was the game that knocked Newcastle out of the 2002/03 Premier League title race and put United in the driving seat, which was a position they then never relinquished with five games to go.
Newcastle teenager Jermaine Jenas opened the scoring with a screamer, but six United goals without reply, four of which came in the first half, were the difference. Paul Scholes scored his first career hat-trick.
United scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo (13, 80), Federico Macheda (90+3)
United’s title hopes were hanging in the balance in April 2009, having lost successive games against Liverpool and Fulham and then trailing 2-1 to Aston Villa with only ten minutes to go of what threatened to be a third straight defeat. Liverpool had also gone top of the table before kick-off.
The hero of the day was not Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo, despite his two goals, but unheard of 17-year-old striker Federico Macheda.
United scorers: David Beckham (42), Andrew Cole (47)
United very famously came from behind to win the Champions League in 1999 and complete an historic treble, but they had already done it to land the first of the three trophies in the Premier League.
United needed to win on the final day to guarantee they would stay ahead of Arsenal, but Tottenham threatened to do their north London rivals a favour by going in front. That was until David Beckham lashed in an equaliser and Andrew Cole scored an iconic winner, lifting the ball over Ian Walker.
United scorers: Steve Bruce (86, 90)
Hunting a first league title in 26 years, United stuttered badly in the spring of 1993 and fell to third in the Premier League table by late March. Victory over rivals Norwich helped, but a defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the following match could have tanked their hopes altogether.
Steve Bruce’s two late headers changed all of that. Not only are the goals an iconic part of Premier League history, but so too are the pitch-side celebrations from Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd.
United scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo (56, 68), Wayne Rooney (67, 71), Dimitar Berbatov (79)
Even after the aforementioned win over Aston Villa, Liverpool were still snapping at United’s heels in the 2008/09 Premier League title race and any slip up could have been disastrous.
Tottenham remarkably led 2-0 at half-time at Old Trafford, but United roared into life after the break. All five goals without reply came in the space of just 24 minutes and there were braces for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, as well as one against his old club for Dimitar Berbatov.
United scorers: Andrew Cole (46), Laurent Blanc (58), Ruud van Nistelrooy (72), Juan Sebastian Veron (76), David Beckham (87)
United’s biggest and most dramatic comeback win in Premier League history also came against Tottenham, having famously been 3-0 down at half-time at White Hart Lane in the early weeks of the 2001/02 season.
Three new faces all got on the scoresheet in Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron, the latter two being the club’s record signings at that time, costing £19m and £28m respectively.
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