Five Premier League matches unbeaten at Manchester United – Roy Hodgson, king of Old Trafford

With a swing of Joachim Andersen’s boot, the ball rocketed into the top corner of Andre Onana’s goal and Roy Hodgson was on his way to achieving a result at Old Trafford once again.

Crystal Palace’s win over Manchester United made Hodgson the first manager to go five consecutive Premier League games unbeaten at Old Trafford — four matches in charge of Palace and one with Watford. It is an achievement reached against the odds on each occasion, on the back of dogged, determined performances — albeit not without quality.

Expectations were even lower off the back of an underwhelming 3-0 Carabao Cup defeat by United four days earlier. Hodgson was disappointed that night, his demeanour sullen in the immediate aftermath. But he was unfazed in the context of what it meant for their Premier League rematch.

Hodgson’s record-breaking results at Old Trafford









Shots on target


Shots faced


Shots on target faced





































“The thing that needs to come into players’ minds is we are playing a league game, one of our 38, at Old Trafford and they should be concentrating fully on that, not trying to be making amends for a cup defeat earlier in the week,” he said on Friday. “That might have been more relevant if exactly the same XI was going to play.

“We’re talking about a completely different game in a completely different context. “

He was proven right with Palace’s 1-0 win on Saturday.

There were striking differences between Palace’s rotated squad for the League Cup and their first-choice XI when league duties resumed. The preparation had been far from ideal, coming up on the train on Monday, driving back on the coach after Tuesday’s game, returning to Manchester by train on Friday and then flying back to Biggin Hill on Saturday evening.

But on Saturday, Andersen and Marc Guehi demonstrated their importance both defensively and with out-balls. Palace played a higher defensive line and prevented United from making meaningful entries into their penalty area.

Their attacking unit was stronger, with Eberechi Eze — having a natural ball-carrier released some of that pressure — and Jordan Ayew repeatedly tempting Sofyan Amrabat into soft fouls, which had the same effect.

Andersen celebrates his goal (Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

In this case, he also won the free kick from which Andersen scored the winning goal. They were more industrious and everything was helped by that stronger base. That their opponents were so wasteful in possession and that they failed to make their incessant second-half pressure tell were all significant contributing factors.

And what did it mean to Hodgson to take that record? The manager sat back, a grin quickly appeared and then he answered, primarily deferring the praise for his players.

“They’ve all been like this one,” he added. “Not games where, from the offset, we’ve pegged Manchester United back in their own penalty area.

“We’ve had to suffer the fact that they’ve got a lot of good players and they’ve asked a lot of questions of us defensively and the team I’ve brought here has stood up very well to those challenges then taken advantage of whatever opportunities come our way.”

He is right — the statistics seem to back up Hodgson’s assessment of his record-breaking Old Trafford run…

November 24, 2018: Manchester United 0-0 Crystal Palace

This goalless draw stopped a run of 11 straight league defeats at Old Trafford for Palace, but is an outlier in the unbeaten run.

Palace enjoyed 40 per cent possession, had 13 shots to Manchester United’s 12, and had a goal ruled out for offside. They had tried to match United but came away with a point against Jose Mourinho’s side.

August 2019: Manchester United 1-2 Crystal Palace

Palace scored their first league goal at Old Trafford since 2004 with Ayew’s first-half strike. Patrick van Aanholt arrived late into the box to secure their first win there since 1989.

Crystal Palace

(Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

They scored with two of their three shots on target compared to the 22 shots they faced. Possession of 29 per cent also helped tell the story of this game as a sucker-punch counter-attacking masterclass against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United.

September 2020: Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace

In this victory, Hodgson defied the doubters. In achieving back-to-back wins at Old Trafford against Solskjaer’s side, Palace played with energy, determination and aggression, pressing high up the pitch particularly early on.

Wilfried Zaha, given the captaincy, thrived in a free role alongside Ayew and Palace focused their attacks down the left in a match played behind closed doors owing to Covid-19.

They had 14 shots to United’s 17, but with only 24 per cent possession.


Zaha scores Palace’s second (Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

February 2022: Manchester United 0-0 Watford

In a forgettable four months in which he failed to prevent Watford’s relegation from the Premier League, this was one of the better results. His side had two shots on target from 10, while United took 22 shots and had three on target but their finishing under interim manager Ralf Rangnick was poor. Watford’s 33 per cent possession was in keeping with the theme of the game.

Roy Hodgson, Watford

(Photo: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

September 2023: Manchester United 0-1 Crystal Palace

Palace had two shots on target from eight in total, and their 23 per cent possession is the lowest a Hodgson side has had in his 12 visits to Old Trafford. Despite significant pressure in the second half, they held on for an excellent, hard-fought victory and the record was set.

(Top photo: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

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