The fixture list was relatively kind to Manchester United at the start of the season.
Granted, Crystal Palace and Brighton were further ahead in their fitness preparation, but both represented beatable opponents.
The EFL Cup kept United clear of any big hitters and we faced Tottenham after their most hectic week of the season.
We all know it hasn’t gone to plan so far and what’s coming over the horizon only ramps up the pressure on the squad to step up in the weeks to come.
Manchester United fixtures after the international break
- Newcastle United (A)
October 17 – 3pm
- PSG (A)
October 20 – 8pm
- Chelsea (H)
October 24 – 5.30pm
- RB Leipzig (H)
October 28 – 8pm
- Arsenal (H)
November 1 – 6.30pm
- Istanbul Basaksehir (A)
November 4- 5.55pm
- Everton (A)
November 7 – 3pm
United lost at Newcastle last season, and the Magpies have improved since then, adding Callum Wilson to their attack.
Even without the suspended Anthony Martial, that game is a must-win. It will set the tone for what comes after.
The trip to face Paris Saint-Germain is United’s toughest Champions League group stage assignment and United could do with repeating the heroics of our last trip to the French capital.
Edinson Cavani, with a point to prove to his former employers, should help, but question marks remain over his match fitness.
Three huge home matches come after that. Chelsea and Arsenal are among United’s most likely rivals for a top four spot, and both visit Old Trafford either side of hosting RB Leipzig.
That’s a massive week for both United’s hopes of both being in next season’s Champions League and remaining in this season’s iteration.
Then comes an awkward trip to Turkey before another away match, against Everton – who are the country’s form team at present and don’t have European football to distract or tire them this season.
Put simply, United’s current crisis won’t ease if we continue to defend how we have in the Premier League so far.
Tottenham showed what elite opponents can do to United’s backline, and the prospect of facing more top sides in the near future ramps up the pressure on the squad to step up – quickly.
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