There can be few things more frustrating in football than coming out second best against one particular rival time and time again.
That is a fate that has befallen numerous clubs over the years and few examples are more notable than Manchester United’s struggles at the hands of Chelsea.Despite both clubs occupying the upper echelons of the table and boasting sizeable playing budgets, there has been an emerging and growing imbalance in their head-to-head record.
UNITED SUFFER CHELSEA BLUES
The all-time record may heavily favour United, who have won 74 and lost 53 of the 180 meetings in all competitions, but since 2012 Chelsea have had the bragging rights.
The first Abramovich-era clash saw Chelsea run out 1-0 winners, but it is over the past six years that they have really stamped their authority on clashes between the two.
In fact, a dose of revenge was served just three days later in a 5-4 League Cup success.
Including that nine-goal thriller, Chelsea have lost just twice in 16 matches against United, although the last of those defeats came in the clubs’ previous league meeting in February.
LE CLASSIQUE NOT SO MAGNIFIQUE FOR MARSEILLE
It is a heated derby between arguably the two biggest clubs in France, but – as with Chelsea – PSG’s dominance has become particularly apparent since 2012.
Worse still for Marseille, the last three losses have come at the expense of 11 goals conceded, although a 2-2 draw amid that run did help to restore a modicum of pride.
FEW THINGS MORE CERTAIN THAN A BARCA WIN OVER ESPANYOL
Okay, so it will come as little surprise that Barca have repeatedly got the better of this derby, as the Camp Nou club have a winning record against most teams.
That solitary success came in February 2009, when Ivan de la Pena’s double against his former club secured a 2-1 win.
There have been numerous thrashings dished out by the five-time champions of Europe, including a 5-0 LaLiga drubbing in September 2017.
At home, Espanyol have not fared much better, failing to win the last 11 league meetings.
Credit where it is due, though, Espanyol grabbed a 1-1 home draw in the most recent meeting in February and prevailed in a first-leg Copa del Rey clash the month before, albeit they were ultimately beaten in that tie.
PEP CAN’T FATHOM KLOPP’S REDS
But Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool provided a sterner test than anyone, for the most part.
It must be said that Pep Guardiola did oversee a resounding 5-0 win over the Reds early in the campaign, but the tide turned after that.
The recent record has been made no less flattering for Liverpool following this month’s 0-0 draw at Anfield, with the Merseysiders having lost only twice in the last 11 matches against City, one of those a penalty shoot-out reverse in the 2016 League Cup final.