Leicester City defeat marks Manchester United's worst start to a Premier League season

 
Joe Hall
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United conceded 5 goals for just the sixth time in their Premier League history (Source: Getty)
For all the trials, tribulations, depressing days and unwanted records that have come Manchester United's way over the last 12 months or so, this afternoon’s collapse at Leicester City may well be the nadir.
It all started so well. Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria swept the Red Devils into a two-goal lead that suggested this expensive new United was all set to bring back the familiar glory of the old United.
Yet despite some undeniably silky attacking play, this United side finished the afternoon having written themselves into the record books for all the wrong reasons. With just five points to their name, Louis van Gaal’s side have endured the worst first five games to a Premier League season in Manchester United’s history.
The fixture list appeared kind to Louis van Gaal; Swansea (H), Sunderland (A), Burnley (A), QPR (H), Leicester (A), yet never before has a Manchester United side started so slowly.
Even the much-maligned David Moyes fared better in his opening five games, picking up seven points. Six points was the lowest points total Sir Alex Ferguson ever accumulated after the first five league games. That came in the 2004/2005 season. United finished 3rd, the lowest position Ferguson ever reached in the Premier League.
These figures don’t make nice reading for Van Gaal, yet before the Dutch manager can start dwelling on the wider context, he will be looking into the spectacular nature of United’s collapse on Sunday afternoon.
Twice United led by two goals at the King Power Stadium yet they finished the game two goals behind. Never before in 853 Premier League games, have United lost a Premier League game having been two goals up.
One small crumb of comfort for the United faithful is that, although their side have never amassed so few points after five games, they have been in the same position - 12th - once before.
You do have to go as far back as the inaugural Premier League season however, when United last found themselves in 12th position with seven points after five games. Eight and a half months later, United won their first league title for 26 years and set the course for decades of dominance.
After that shaky start 22 years ago, Ferguson dipped into the transfer market to sign one Eric Cantona for £1m, adding to the combined £1.1m he had already "splashed out" on Pat McGibbon and Dion Dublin.
In contrast, Van Gaal has already spent £170m on new players, yet that has not been enough to stop his side conceding eight goals in the league (plus a further four at the hands of MK Dons in the League Cup).
United’s next five games include Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City. United fans will be hoping van Gaal finds a way to shores things up, and soon.

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