Premier League - Football: Manchester United 25/1 to be relegated
Though only two games into his tenure, Erik ten Hag has overseen a horror start to the season, seeing his side rock bottom of the Premier League table, for the first time since the inaugural Premier League season 30 years ago.
Two losses with a goal difference of -5 makes it Manchester United’s worst ever start to a Premier League campaign, and has seen their odds for relegation plummet from 2500/1 to just 25/1 with bet365 seeing over 500 bets on such an outcome since the heavy defeat against Brentford.
bet365’s Steve Freeth said: "It’s hardly been a steady ship recently, but the thought of Manchester United plying their trade in the second tier for the first time since 1974 seemed a long way from our odds compilers' minds when they chalked up 2500/1 in pre-season.
"We were into 1000/1 come kick off time against Brighton and then 500/1 by full-time after Erik ten Hag tasted defeat in his first game at Old Trafford.
"Customers were then quick to gobble up further fancy prices and we’ve had to take decisive action since the debacle at Brentford with the odds for the drop tumbling down to just 25/1.
"Manchester United, too good to go down? With the liabilities now running into several millions, we hope they are!"
bet365 are also betting on how many points the Red Devils take in their next four Premier League games, starting with Liverpool at home on Monday night, with 0 points at 22/1 and 12 points at 50/1.
The notion of Manchester United Football Club losing all six of their opening Premier League matches seems unthinkable, but the performances – and state of the squad – have made it a not-impossible outcome, particularly when looking at their upcoming fixtures.
Liverpool at home is next up, with the Anfield side as short as 3/5 to take all three points from Old Trafford.
The cliché that there are no easy games in the Premier League can frankly be dismissed when the division’s whipping boys rock up to the Etihad or Anfield, but it certainly rings true for Manchester United at the moment.
Seemingly easier fixtures against Southampton and Leicester follow, but both are away from home, where United have lost their last seven on the bounce, before the run finishes with a home game against high-flying Arsenal.
It’s grim reading for United fans, with the side 9/4 to pick up 1-3 points from their next four, and 11/10 to pick up 4-6 points.
Manchester United’s lowest points tally
For those looking longer term, bettors can back United to surpass 57 points at 4/5, while the unders is available at 10/11.
United’s most recent nadir saw them finish on 58 points last season – their lowest total since their injury-plagued 1989/90 season.
It’s a tally not unheard of to be attained by a mid-table team; Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton finished on 59 points in 2020/21 and came 10th. Hopeful talk of a top-four finish is a distant memory, with Gary Neville suggesting United could actually finish in the bottom half, and without major signings, it’s a real possibility.
United are 10/3 to finish in the bottom half, and perhaps most remarkably, are actually shorter to get relegated (25/1) than they are to finish in the top two (33/1), such is the size of the job on Ten Hag’s hands.
Manchester United’s biggest defeats
Few stats highlight United’s decline since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement better than the one unearthed last week: In 21 Premier League seasons under the Scot, the Red Devils lost by four or more goals three times in 810 games (Newcastle, 1996; Chelsea, 1999; Manchester City; 2011). United have lost by the same scoreline three times in their last eight games (Brighton, Brentford, Liverpool).
United’s biggest defeat has been 7-0 three times, all before the Second World War, but fans will have last year’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool at the forefront of their minds over the weekend. It could be argued that United were actually in a better place then than they are now.
A repeat of last season’s score is 40/1 – the same as a more modest 3-1 home win. It’s 200/1 that Liverpool match United’s heaviest defeat, shorter than United to win 5-1 (300/1).
Manchester United’s transfers
Mid-August has arrived, and United are once again scrambling around for reinforcements in a blind panic.
Long-term target Frenkie de Jong has been as yet impossible to obtain, with attentions eventually being turned to a much inferior target in Adrien Rabiot, with his contract demands ultimately being deemed too high.
Real Madrid’s Casemiro is the most recent target, with a five-year deal for a player in his 30s being reported.
Regarding reinforcements up front, Atletico’s Matheus Cunha is the most strongly linked, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang another recent name put forward, but scrapping around for players turfed out of Premier League clubs on free transfers at the start of the year doesn’t scream good forward planning.
The current crop need to get to grips with Ten Hag’s methods and fast, but major incomings – and perhaps major outgoings – are of paramount importance to stop another historically poor season at Old Trafford.