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50 PL opponents: Oldham to Reading

50 PL opponents: Oldham to Reading

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Monday 26 June 2023 16:30

To mark Manchester United facing a 50th different club in the Premier League, following Luton Town’s promotion, we’re recalling our record against each one and showing the highlights from some classic meetings.


United have faced Oldham four times in the Premier League and all of these meetings took place in the competition’s first two seasons, before our fellow Greater Manchester outfit dropped out of the top flight at the end of the 1993/94 campaign. The Reds won three of the clashes, with our only loss to the Latics occurring away at Boundary Park in March 1993. Oldham currently play in the National League, after becoming the first former Premier League side to drop out of the Football League entirely, in April 2022.

Oldham Athletic 2 United 5 Video

Oldham Athletic 2 United 5

29 December 1993: Our final game of the calendar year was a seven-goal thriller at Boundary Park…

Classic match: Oldham Athletic 2 United 5 (1993/1994)
On 29 December 1993, United made the trip to Boundary Park, for what turned out to be an action-packed Greater Manchester derby. The sides went back and forth, much like a tennis match, in the opening stages, as Andrei Kanchelskis gave United the lead just four minutes in, before Graeme Sharp equalised with 15 on the clock. Eric Cantona made it 2-1 four minutes later from the penalty spot, but Rick Holden made it 2-2 after just 26 minutes. This was to be Oldham’s final goal in the fixture, though, as the Reds accelerated beyond our hosts. Steve Bruce edged us ahead six minutes before the break, and then in the second half, a Ryan Giggs brace put the result beyond any doubt. United won 5-2 and continued our push towards a second Premier League title.

Premier League record:
Games played: 4
United wins: 3
Draws: 0
Oldham wins: 1
United goals: 11
Oldham goals: 5
Top scorer: Ryan Giggs (3)


United have played Portsmouth – who now reside in League One – 14 times in the Premier League. All of these clashes came during Pompey’s seven-year stint in the top division, after being promoted in 2003. The Reds have a favourable record against the south-coast outfit too, winning 10 of the top-flight meetings between the sides. All three of our losses to Portsmouth have been inflicted at Fratton Park, with the only draw coming at that stadium too. In fact, the Hampshire side have only ever scored one Premier League goal at Old Trafford, in our 2-1 victory in 2005. After being relegated from the top flight in 2010, amid financial struggles and administration, Pompey gradually dropped all the way down to League Two. They gained promotion back to the third tier in 2017, and that is where they have remained since.

Classic match: United 2 Portsmouth 0 (2007/2008)
Played in January 2008, this fixture is famous for what is considered by some to be the best free-kick of all time. Portsmouth were on the receiving end of a Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass – just 10 minutes into the clash, he opened the scoring by keeping his composure after exchanging passes with Nani and Paul Scholes to slot the ball home. What happened moments later will forever be remembered for the reaction it brought from both sets of fans. United had won a free-kick 30 yards from goal and Ronaldo stepped up to take it. Our no.7 struck the ball with such venom that it outfoxed former England goalkeeper David James and flew into the back of the net, prompting cheers of ecstasy from the home supporters and sheer shock for the visiting fans. Ronaldo had done it again.

Premier League record: 
Games played: 14
United wins: 10
Draws: 1
Portsmouth wins: 3
United goals: 30
Portsmouth goals: 9
Top scorer: Wayne Rooney (8)

United 2 Portsmouth 0 Video

United 2 Portsmouth 0

30 January 2008: Ronaldo’s impressive double, including a sensational free-kick, was the difference in this one…


Another side we have met 14 times in the Premier League is Queens Park Rangers, who had two stints in the top flight between its inception and 2015. But unlike Portsmouth, QPR have never beaten us in the division. Founder members of it in 1992/93, the West London club remained in the PL for four seasons before being relegated. They returned in 2011 after a 15-year absence and stayed for three seasons before dropping back into the second tier. Two United legends, Mark Hughes and Ray Wilkins, have managed QPR against us in the Premier League, in 2012 and 1996 respectively.

Classic match: Queens Park Rangers 1 United 1 (1995/1996)
Wilkins was the man in charge at Loftus Road when United visited in March 1996. Having never mustered anything better than a 0-0 draw against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, the hosts took a surprise lead after 64 minutes, thanks to a Denis Irwin own goal. QPR were threatened by relegation and three points against two-time Premier League title winners United would have been a massive plus for Wilkins and his side. However, it wasn’t to be, as Eric Cantona struck right at the death to claim a late point for the Reds. Little did we know, at the time, that this would be the last time United would play in the Premier League at Loftus Road for 15 years.

Premier League record: 
Games played: 14
United wins: 12
Draws: 2
QPR  wins: 0
United goals: 31
QPR goals: 9
Top scorer: Ryan Giggs (4)

QPR 1 United 1 Video

QPR 1 United 1

16 March 1996: A last-minute header from Eric Cantona secured a vital point for the Reds…


The Reds and the Royals have only played each other six times in the Premier League, with the first of those coming in 2006 – 14 years after the division’s inception. Reading remained in the top flight for two years before being relegated, and would return once more in the 2012/13 season. They were unable to stay up on that occasion, and haven’t played in the Premier League since. United have never lost against the Royals in the division, winning four and drawing six of our meetings. Those matches have produced a total of 17 goals, averaging almost three per games, so clashes between the sides have not been short of action.

Classic match: Reading 3 United 4 (2012/2013)
Our December 2012 trip to the Madejski Stadium threw up goals aplenty – in the first half anyway. All seven of the game’s efforts were notched within the opening 34 minutes, as both teams threw caution to the wind. It was very much back and forth between United and Reading, with the hosts taking the lead through Hal Robson-Kanu with eight minutes on the clock. Anderson equalised five minutes later, before Wayne Rooney edged the Reds ahead from the penalty spot. The Royals replied – through Adam Le Fondre – 19 minutes in before Sean Morrison established a 3-2 lead for the hosts moments later. Despite the to-and-fro nature of the match, it was United who had the last laugh. Rooney grabbed his second of the game to restore parity on the half-hour mark and Robin van Persie’s 34th-minute finish – with his right foot – would ultimately prove enough to claim the three points for the Reds as the match settled down after the initial flurry.

Reading 3 United 4 Video

Reading 3 United 4

1 December 2012: A seven-goal thriller with the newly promoted Royals at the Madejski Stadium…

Premier League record: 
Games played: 6
United wins: 4
Draws: 2
Reading wins: 0
United goals: 11
Reading goals: 6
Top scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney (4)

More in this series:

Monday 26 June 2023 16:30

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