2 days ago: LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Marouane Fellaini of Everton celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on August 20, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
* Editor's Note: Long time community member Serigo Hernandez has again contributed something which I found interesting. I'm front paging this so hopefully other readers feel the same.
Monday was rough.
It's bad enough when our beloved Red Devils lose a game but losing the season opener -- and not looking particularly good in doing so -- was another level of anguish.
I could only console myself in the fact there are 37 fixtures remaining and for all intents and purposes, we could end up with 111 points and a 20th English championship come May.
But I'm a man of facts and figures and couldn't resign myself to hopes and wishes. So off to The Official Illustrated History of Manchester United I went. In the back of this incredible book are results from every season beginning in 1892 across all forms of competition from domestic to continental.
Beginning my research in 1992 when the English Premier League (EPL) formed, I sought to answer this question:
How well does United do when dropping their first three points?
Since the formation of the EPL, United has only lost their season opener four times including Monday's loss to Everton.
The first time they did so was actually their very first game in the new English top flight, a 2-1 loss to Sheffield United away from home at Bramall Lane. Less than nine months later, Éric Cantona, Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs et al. hoisted the EPL trophy up after racking up 84 points in the remaining 37 games, 10 better than their closest rival.
Another interesting fact about this season is we wouldn't pick up our first win until the third game and also wouldn't find ourselves level on goal differential until Sept. 6.
David Beckham scored our only goal in this season opener, a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa at Villa Park. Unlike the 92/93 campaign, United immediately roared back, picking up 26 out of the next possible 30 points. They finished four points clear of Newcastle United the following May earning their 10th top flight title.
Before Monday, the last time United failed to pick up any points in the season opener was on Aug. 15, 2004 when Eiður Guðjohnsen netted a goal at Stamford Bridge early in the first half. It ended up being all the Blues needed to secure the victory.
No one knows how the Red Devils will react to the loss to Everton. Perhaps it'll galvanize them and they'll go on a tear or perhaps it is a troubling sign of things to come.
And of course, the squads and issues surrounding the team are different now from then -- with Sir Alex Ferguson and Old Trafford seemingly being the only constants -- but it soothes my statistician soul to know United has found themselves in this hole before and emerged champions more often than not.
Glory Glory Man United!