Manchester United have had five EPL managers in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, and a certain stat serves as a good omen for new caretaker boss Michael Carrick.

There’s not an awful lot to lose for Michael Carrick on the weekend.

Coming up against league leaders Chelsea in his first league assignment as Manchester United’s interim manager following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the former United midfielder doesn’t have the pressure of being the full-time boss. Also, he’s coming off a crucial Champions League win over Villareal on Wednesday morning (AEDT) that guarantees progression to the final 16. Whether he feels the pressure or not, he certainly has recent history on his side. United have had five manager in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era which ended in 2013.

Four of those five have each won their first EPL game in charge. Let’s take a deeper dive into those games.

David Moyes – WIN

First EPL game in charge: 4-1 win over Swansea (Away), 17 August 2013

United started as favourites, albeit not red-hot, at $2.15 away to Swansea. But doubles from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck saw United cruise home and put them on top of the EPL table. It was a position they’d never return to again during that season, and by April the following year Moyes was shown the door.

Ryan Giggs – WIN

First EPL game in charge: 4-1 win over Norwich (Home), 22 April 2014

Giggs took over from Moyes for the last four games of the 2013/14 EPL season, and started brightly. This time it was Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata who each banged in a brace. United were unsurprisingly $1.30 favourites in the clash. Like Giggs at the time, Carrick is only expected to take over in a caretaker capacity.

Louis van Gaal – LOSS

First EPL game in charge: 2-1 loss to Swansea (Home), 16 August 2014

Soon after Giggs’ short caretaker stay, United appointed the well-credentialed Dutchman (who, as it turns out, appointed Giggs as his senior assistant). But he couldn’t have made a much poorer start. Despite starting as strong $1.43 favourites at Old Trafford on the opening day of the  season, United were poor against the Swans. And it was a history making day: United had not lost a home season opener since 1972. It was also a precursor for what was to come, with the Red Devils finishing fourth and fifth respectively in van Gaal’s two seasons in charge, and well off the pace of eventual winners Chelsea and Leicester respectively.

José Mourinho – WIN

First EPL game in charge: 3-1 win over Bournemouth (Away), 14 August 2016

Mourinho’s spell at United that ended so acrimoniously actually started brightly. Starting as $1.76 favourites away from home, United cruised past Bournemouth with goals to Mata, Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović. Mourinho lasted longer than van Gaal in the role — but only just. His two-and-a-half seasons in charge became bitter towards the end. By December 2018, the club was looking to instil pride back in the shirt, and perhaps unsurprisingly opted for a familiar name from the glory years…

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – WIN

First EPL game in charge: 5-1 win over Cardiff City (Away), 22 December 2018

Like Carrick, Solskjaer was appointed as a caretaker. But after positive results the Norwegian was given the full-time role. And while that would appear highly unlikely to happen again, we’ve seen stranger things happen in football — especially a club so wedded to its past as United. Solskjaer’s first game in charge was against his former club, Cardiff City. United started as $1.55 favourites against the Bluebirds, and ran out dominant 5-1 winners with goals to Lingard (2), Rashford, Herrera and Martial.

Michael Carrick – ???

First EPL game in charge: versus Chelsea (Away), 29 November 2021

Sure, the above results represent a good omen for Carrick. But none were facing title contenders in their opening game. Against Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge no less (3:30am AEDT Monday), United start as $5.50 outsiders with Palmerbet. Over to you, Michael.