United's record in the final games of the year

Saturday 30 December 2023 15:22

Manchester United end 2023 with a trip to Nuno Espirito Santo's Nottingham Forest on Saturday,

Erik ten Hag's side will be aiming to end the calendar year on a high and there have been numerous occasions over the years when we have picked up maximum points in these fixtures.

To be precise, there have been 20 wins in total, including each of our last five, with Marcus Rashford scoring in four of those and actually missing the 3-1 win over Burnley in 2021.

Impressively, only three were defeats - in 1997 against a Darren Huckerby-inspired Coventry City, 2-1 at West Ham United in 2007, despite a goal for Cristiano Ronaldo, and an ultimately costly 3-2 home reverse to Blackburn Rovers on New Year's Eve in 2011.

United's last league games of the year


Look back on each of our final fixtures of the calendar year since the start of the Premier League...

We started these particular games in the Premier League era in tremendous fashion, thumping Coventry City 5-0 in the inaugural campaign and then Oldham Athletic, away from home, 5-2 a year later.

United also hit five past Wigan Athletic, our first opponents of 2024, in the Emirates FA Cup third round, back in 2009, while our biggest recent win was 4-1, against Bournemouth in 2018.

There are some interesting things to note about the scorers in such games. Ryan Giggs leads the way with seven, the last of which was enough to earn three points at Aston Villa, in 2004. Ronaldo scored six times, five in his first spell and then one in the aforementioned victory over Burnley.

Dimitar Berbatov was also pretty prolific in these end-of-year fixtures, as he mustered five, netting in four successive ones.

Nicky Butt was the man who scored our final goal of the last Millennium, with his 1999 effort coming at Sunderland, in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

No Red has ever scored a hat-trick at this time, but Rashford's contribution has been extremely valuable in the most recent years. On two separate occasions, a solitary goal by the homegrown forward has been enough to clinch three points in matches against Wolves.

Indeed, Forest represent new opponents for a last Premier League game of the year, with the last four being shared between Wolves and Burnley.

This David Beckham beauty was a good way to round off 2002.


28/12/92: Coventry (H) 5-0 (Giggs, Hughes, Cantona, Sharpe, Irwin)
29/12/93: Oldham (A) 5-2 (Kanchelskis, Bruce, Giggs 2, Irwin)
31/12/94: Southampton (A) 2-2 (Butt, Pallister)
30/12/95: QPR (H) 2-1 (Cole, Giggs)
28/12/96: Leeds (H) 1-0 (Cantona)
28/12/97: Coventry (A) 2-3 (Solskjaer, Sheringham)
29/12/98: Chelsea (A) 0-0
28/12/99: Sunderland (A) 2-2 (Keane, Butt)
30/12/00: Newcastle (A) 1-1 (Beckham)
30/12/01: Fulham (A) 3-2 (Giggs 2, van Nistelrooy)
28/12/02: Birmingham (H) 2-0 (Forlan, Beckham)
28/12/03: Middlesbrough (A) 1-0 (Fortune)
28/12/04: Aston Villa (A) 1-0 (Giggs)
31/12/05: Bolton (H) 4-1 (N'gotty og, Saha, Ronaldo 2)
30/12/06: Reading (H) 3-2 (Solskjaer, Ronaldo 2)
29/12/07: West Ham (A) 1-2 (Ronaldo)
29/12/08: Middlesbrough (H) 1-0 (Berbatov)
30/12/09: Wigan (H) 5-0 (Rooney, Carrick, Rafael, Berbatov, Valencia)

Danny Welbeck came off the bench to claim the winner at Norwich in 2013.

28/12/10: Birmingham (A) 1-1 (Berbatov)
31/12/11: Blackburn (H) 2-3 (Berbatov 2)
29/12/12: West Brom (H) 2-0 (McAuley og, van Persie)
28/12/13: Norwich (A) 1-0 (Welbeck)
28/12/14: Tottenham (A) 0-0
28/12/15: Chelsea (H) 0-0
31/12/16: Middlesbrough (H) 2-1 (Martial, Pogba)
30/12/17: Southampton (H) 0-0
30/12/18: Bournemouth (H) 4-1 (Pogba 2, Rashford, Lukaku)
28/12/19: Burnley (A) 2-0 (Martial, Rashford)
29/12/20: Wolves (H) 1-0 (Rashford)
30/12/21: Burnley (H) 3-1 (McTominay, Mee og, Ronaldo)
31/12/22: Wolves (A) 1-0 (Rashford)