Who is the most prolific visiting striker at Old Trafford?

Modified 12 Feb 2014

Norwich City v Fulham - FA Cup Third Round

Whilst I was ruing yet more dropped points at Old Trafford, something was bothering me. It was not just the fact that Darren Bent scored the equaliser after doing nothing all game, it was also because a mate of mine was pretty sure that Darren Bent is the most prolific visiting striker at Old Trafford. I laughed off his suggestion by saying that there is now way that could be true.

After all, considering the legends that have taken to the stage at Old Trafford like Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier and Thierry Henry to name a few, Bent can’t possibly top that list. So that led me on a wild goose chase to find out whether or not Bent was actually the most prolific visiting striker at Old Trafford. And what I found really startled me.

Before looking at any of the other contenders, let us look at how many Bent had. With that last-gasp equaliser on Sunday, Bent took his tally against United at Old Trafford, to four. His previous three goals were for three different clubs. The first was for Tottenham in that miraculous 5-2 defeat in April 2009. The next one was for Sunderland in October 2009 where the score line was the same as the one against Fulham. His third and most recent one, before he netted on Sunday, was in a 3-1 loss in February 2011, whilst playing for Aston Villa. Four goals for four different clubs in less than five years is an achievement in itself. Can anybody else top that?

After plenty of cross-checking, considering all the competitions and not just the League, the bitter truth is, nobody else can. Unlikely as though it might seen, nobody else has managed four goals against United at Old Trafford. There are a total of 12 players on three goals, of which, seven are either retired or not playing in England right now.

Leeds United v Chelsea - Capital One Cup Quarter-Final

Considering the five active players, Lampard and Torres have both scored three each at Old Trafford. Whilst Torres scored twice for Liverpool and once for Chelsea between March 2009 and September 2011, Lampard scored his first for West Ham in January 1999 and has subsequently scored two for Chelsea. Steven Gerrard (all three for Liverpool), Emmanuel Adebayor (two for Arsenal, one for Spurs) and Gabby Agbonlahor (all three for Aston Villa) all have a legitimate shot at catching Bent.

Apart from them, Robbie Fowler has also scored thrice at Old Trafford, however that wasn’t enough for his side on both occasions to come away with a win. Kevin Phillips (two for Southampton and one for Sunderland) and Matt Le Tissier (all three for Southampton) also managed that thrice at Old Trafford. Others to score three are Eidur Gudjohnsen (all for Chelsea), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Danny Murphy and Mark Viduka.

Two of the League’s most prolific scorers, Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry both have only scored twice at Old Trafford. Whilst both of Shearer’s came for Newcastle in losses in 2002, Henry scored Arsenal’s only goal in a 6-1 defeat in February 2001 and a 1-1 Community Shield meeting in 2003.

There is a long list of players who have scored two from Michael Owen to Mario Balotelli, via Darren Ambrose and Gianfranco Zola. Can anybody beat Bent’s four goals? Can Suarez weave his magic in the coming seasons? All we can do, is wait and watch.

Published 12 Feb 2014
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