When the fixture list for the Premier League season was announced in June, Manchester United’s opening set of games looked considerably favourable compared to some of our rivals.
With us being one point off the pace, we are in the title race as it stands, but the next six weeks up until the November international break are going to have a huge bearing on our major trophy credentials.
Four of our games so far this season have come against sides that are currently in the bottom seven of the league table.
Our toughest challenges going off the league table have been West Ham and Aston Villa.
In comparison, the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea have had a much more daunting set of opening fixtures.
But it’s going to be a case of roles very much reversed over the next six weeks.
Testing period in bid for major trophies
There is going to be no margin for error in any of our next eight matches.
After Villarreal on Wednesday, we welcome Rafael Benitez’s Everton, who have the same number of Premier League points as us (13) to Old Trafford on Saturday, in what is the last match before the October international break.
We will travel to the FA Cup and Community Shield winners Leicester City for our first match following the international break, which could be when Marcus Rashford returns.
We then welcome Atalanta and the small matter of Liverpool to Old Trafford before finishing October with a trip to Tottenham.
Our last two games before the November international break see us travel to Italy for our second group stage match against Atalanta before welcoming Pep Guardiola’s City to the Theatre of Dreams on Bonfire weekend.
Big games after one and other could help
Following the Carabao Cup exit and the defeat to Young Boys in Switzerland, United cannot afford to have many more lacklustre displays, especially in the Champions League.
Playing against our fierce rivals and teams vying to make the Champions League knockout stage, off the back of one and other, could prove to be the ideal run of games we needed.
There should be no danger of complacency and one area that we have excelled in under Solskjaer has been our ability to come up trumps in big games.
If United go into the November international break still only one point off the league leaders and in the top two positions of our Champions League group, then the confidence and momentum we will have gained will be the perfect springboard going into the festive period.
This is crunch time for Solskjaer’s men, hopefully the squad pulls together and the quality shines through and decides big games for us.
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