Reds extend comeback record

Wednesday 27 December 2023 18:00

Manchester United secured a dramatic late victory against the odds when Aston Villa visited Old Trafford on Boxing Day, with Opta stats showing that the Reds are far and away the most successful at coming back from two goals down to win.

Going into the break two goals down against the Villans on Boxing Day, it looked like Erik ten Hag's side had a mountain to climb in the second half. True to United's famous fighting spirit, the Reds emerged from the tunnel and set to work. An Alejandro Garnacho double drew us level, before Rasmus Hojlund completed the task, and got his first Premier League goal in the process. 

Stats released by Opta on social media show that the Reds' reputation for late revivals is more than merely a myth, having notched a total of 14 wins after going two or more goals down in the Premier League - five more such victories than any other side.

Below, we take a look back through all those comeback triumphs, from a memorable Maine Road derby in 1993, all the way up to this week's Boxing Day game at Old Trafford...

Comeback kings


No Premier League side has won from two goals down as often as United - watch action from all 14 games here.

3-2 v Man City (A) | 7 Nov 1993
In our first derby as reigning Premier League champions, the Blues threatened to throw a spanner in the works when Niall Quinn netted a first-half double. However, the Reds rallied strongly to stun Maine Road with Eric Cantona's brace after the break and a joyous Roy Keane winner.

5-3 v Spurs (A) | 29 Sep 2001
The Reds waited until the new millennium to complete the feat again, in fact going one better by overturning a three goal first-half deficit at White Hart Lane. A debut effort from Dean Richards was added to by Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege. Second-half contributions from Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham flipped the game on its head.

4-2 v Everton (A) | 28 Apr 2007
Alan Stubbs broke the deadlock at Goodison Park before Manuel Fernandes put the hosts two ahead. John O'Shea stepped in to reduce the arrears and United drew level thanks to an own goal by former Reds defender Phil Neville, before Wayne Rooney and Chris Eagles completed the comeback to put us five points ahead in the title race.

5-2 v Spurs (H) | 25 Apr 2009
United added to the record at home for the first time after going 2-0 down to Tottenham at Old Trafford via Darren Bent and Luka Modric. A Cristiano Ronaldo double was joined by Wayne Rooney with a brace of his own, all four goals scored within just 14 minutes of each other, before being topped off by a Dimitar Berbatov chance that was bundled over the line.

3-2 v Blackpool (A) | 25 Jan 2011
First-half goals from former United defender Craig Cathcart and DJ Campbell threatened an upset at Bloomfield Road, and it wasn't until the 72nd minute that Sir Alex Ferguson's side began the fightback, first through Berbatov, before substitute Javier Hernandez levelled the game two minutes later. The Bulgarian striker completed the task just 16 minutes after his first goal.

4-2 v West Ham (A) | 2 Apr 2011
Just weeks later the Reds added to the tally of comeback wins from two-goal deficits. A pair of early Mark Noble penalties were overturned late on by a spectacular Rooney hat-trick, before Hernandez replaced Patrice Evra and netted a fourth to extend United's lead in the Premier League to seven points.

A Wayne Rooney hat-trick inspired a magical comeback away at the Boleyn Ground back in 2011.

3-2 v Aston Villa (A) | 10 Nov 2012
An Andreas Weimann double met a response from substitute Javier Hernandez just eight minutes later. The leveller came courtesy of Villans' defender Ron Vlaar, before the Mexico international finished what he'd started with three minutes of regular time remaining.

3-2 v Hull City (A) | 26 Dec 2013
The first of our Boxing Day turnarounds was required after two early goals by James Chester - another ex-Reds defender - and David Meyler. Those goals brought a quick riposte from Chris Smalling and Rooney, who levelled the game with 26 minutes played. Chester stepped in again to complete the scoring in the second half, only this time at the wrong end, sealing a Reds comeback.

3-2 v Crystal Palace (A) | 5 Mar 2018
Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt put the hosts ahead before Smalling once again mounted the challenge. Romelu Lukaku notched the equaliser and Nemanja Matic scored an incredible long-range strike in stoppage time to take all three points at Selhurst Park.

Nemanja Matic's stoppage-time screamer sent the travelling Reds wild at Selhurst Park.

3-2 v Man City (A) | 7 Apr 2018
Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan put our local rivals ahead at the Etihad in the first half, before Paul Pogba netted twice within a two-minute period and set the stage for Smalling to get the all-important third. David De Gea pulled off a wonderful reactive save in the final moments to cement the win.

3-2 v Newcastle United (H) | 6 Oct 2018
A quickfire double from Kenedy and Yoshinori Moto in the first 10 minutes spelled trouble for the Reds. It wasn't until the final 20 minutes that Juan Mata pulled one back from a free-kick before Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez completed the comeback.

3-2 v Southampton (A) | 29 Nov 2020
Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse put the Saints2-0 up and it wasn't until the hour mark when Bruno Fernandes clawed one back. Half-time substitute Edinson Cavani netted the equaliser before spectacularly completing the comeback in the second minute of injury time.

Edinson Cavani came off the bench to complete the Reds' 2020/21 recovery at St Mary's.

3-2 v Nottingham Forest (H) | 26 Aug 2023
The first of the dramatic comebacks in this current season was teed up by Taiwo Awoniyi and Willy Boly shocking the Reds inside four minutes. Christian Eriksen soon got us back in the game at Old Trafford in the 17th minute, before Casemiro levelled the score and Fernandes completed the charge from the penalty spot. 

3-2 v Aston Villa (H) | 26 Dec 2023
The 14th and most recent time United have come back from two or more goals behind. The mood was subdued following first-half strikes from John McGinn and Leander Dendoncker, but Garnacho returned determined, scoring twice before Hojlund opened his Premier League account late in the game to complete another historic comeback at the Theatre of Dreams.