An absolutely riotous day of Premier League thrills and spills saw both Manchester United and Liverpool fall to humiliating and incredibly heavy defeats, with United going down 6-1 against Tottenham and Liverpool, even more improbably, getting thumped 7-2 by Aston Villa.
That's right: Two clubs with a whopping 39 English top-flight titles between them conspired to concede a total of 13 goals between them! What a day. Where to begin?
How about kickoff at OId Trafford, where things actually got off to a decent start for United when they won their now customary penalty with just 30 seconds played.
Bruno Fernandes duly converted in similarly routine fashion and all seemed well, However, things began to turn sour for the hosts just minutes later, signalling the start of a remarkable few hours. This is the story of a magnificent, mind-boggling day.
Having dusted themselves off, Jose Mourinho's Tottenham responded with a bewildering barrage of six unanswered goals, starting when Tanguy Ndombele cancelled out Fernandes' spot kick in the fourth minute and quickly followed by Son Heung-min putting the visitors ahead in the seventh.
United then saw Anthony Martial sent off just ahead of the half-hour mark for a fairly tame slap of Erik Lamela, who somehow managed to stay on the field despite clearly antagonising the French striker with a weak tap moments beforehand.
Lamela vs. Martial.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 4, 2020
Only one of them got a red card 🤔 pic.twitter.com/kJbtwlHHkt
Much to Mourinho's muted delight, Spurs continued to ransack United's rickety defence and rattle goal after goal past David de Gea.
Jose Mourinho once again sending a message to Manchester United's owners ahead of deadline day.— Greg Johnson (@gregianjohnson) October 4, 2020
United continued to capitulate after the restart, conceding two more goals in the second half to let six slip for only the third time in Premier League history -- all three of their stuffings coming in the dreaded month of October.
3 - Manchester United have conceded six goals in a single Premier League game for only the third time - with each coming in October (1996 v Southampton, 2011 v Man City, today v Spurs). Scary. #MUNTOT pic.twitter.com/w8bFgFpt5c— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 4, 2020
Despondent on the touchline, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came in for heavy criticism as United suffered back-to-back defeats in their first two home games of the season for the first time since 1986-87.
Ole Gonna Go-skjaer— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) October 4, 2020
Not that it stopped Spurs' official channels from celebrating a truly momentous victory amid a hectic run of fixtures for the club -- five games in 11 days to be precise.
Indeed, it was another particularly bad day at the office for goalkeeper De Gea too, with history hardly smiling on him favourably either.
Manchester United have only conceded six goals in a game at Old Trafford twice since 1930. David de Gea has played in both games.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) October 4, 2020
Predictably, Mauricio Pochettino's name was being bandied around on social media, with the former Spurs man being touted for United -- not as a possible replacement for Solskjaer but as a potential defensive upgrade on Harry Maguire et al.
United should be using this an excuse to bring in Pochettino.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) October 4, 2020
Yes as a centre-back https://t.co/qCNWiA8ak5— Manasi Pathak (@ThatUnitedLady) October 4, 2020
Alternative suggestions for the United managerial hot seat were also made (with tongue pressed firmly in cheek). After it was announced that United had tentatively agreed a deal to sign Edinson Cavani, many joked that the ex-PSG striker may now be contemplating a hasty U-turn after witnessing them in action.
Cavani turning up at Man United ... pic.twitter.com/8Wys73Lrai— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 4, 2020
Cavani begins his escape https://t.co/k89d3FJ0Nu— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) October 4, 2020
Can Cavani play centre-back? https://t.co/GHWzkGKQt1— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) October 4, 2020
United transfer target Jadon Sancho came in for similar treatment, with some fans querying whether making an expedited offer for the Dortmund winger during the match might not be a bad idea.
Man Utd to put in a €200m half-time bid for Sancho? 😂— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) October 4, 2020
Though of course other, more realistic viewers also questioned why Sancho would want to move to United at all on current evidence.
"Does Sancho play defense?" pic.twitter.com/KVjAusZLIM— Tony Chow (@Tonyhkchow) October 4, 2020
Even Jadon Sancho has turned the TV over.— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) October 4, 2020
The Sancho saga will finally end tomorrow -- or at least go on hold for a few months -- but maybe United should look to another sport for reinforcements?
But then a weird day got even weirder...
With their fans no doubt reveling in United's despair, Liverpool ran out against a club that almost for relegated just weeks ago in search of a fourth straight win to begin their title defence... only to trump their great rivals with a truly mystifying display.
As if deliberately trying to one-up United in the upset stakes, Jurgen Klopp's side were uncharacteristically flimsy, which resulted in Liverpool conceding seven for the first time since 1963. Imagine how the internet might have reacted back then!
In doing so, Watkins became the first player to score a treble against the Reds since Dimitar Berbatov for Man United back in September 2010.
Ross Barkley then added a fifth by scoring on his Villa debut. Yep, that's right, the same Ross Barkley who previously spent seven years at (current league leaders) Everton but had never managed to score against their Merseyside rivals.
As lamented by the club's official Twitter account, it is just a shame there were no Villa fans inside the stadium to witness the "absolute scenes."
90' | 'We want eight!'— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) October 4, 2020
...is what the crowd would be singing right now.
🟣 7-2 ⚫ #AVLLIV
And in a textbook case of schadenfreude, a certain former Man United defender could barely conceal his gleeful surprise.
And so it finished, with a dejected Liverpool having broken all sorts of thoroughly unwanted records while Villa celebrated a momentous performance.
7 - Liverpool are the first reigning English top-flight champions to ship seven goals in a league match since Arsenal against Sunderland in September 1953. Embarrassed. #AVLLIV pic.twitter.com/CAnLAPG7b5— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 4, 2020
This was the first time Liverpool conceded six goals or more in a game since the infamous 6-1 defeat against Stoke City in 2015, which was departing captain Steven Gerrard's horrendous farewell game.
No wonder Klopp looked completely and utterly bewildered in the away dugout.
It is a shame it had to end, but Sunday's action concluded with both Liverpool and Manchester United having lost a game by more than three goals in the same Premier League matchweek since January 2012, when Liverpool lost 3-0 against Man City while United went down 3-0 to Newcastle the following day.
IMAGINE NOT LIKING FOOTBALL!!!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 4, 2020
If ever an expression and a comment summed up a day. Maybe we all need an international break to recover!