Manchester United will face a nightmare run of matches which could define Erik ten Hag’s second season at Old Trafford. Between the end of November and end of December, the Red Devils face a daunting fixture list which could go a long way to deciding how their campaign pans out.
United have not had the start to the season that they would have wanted. They have won two and lost two of their opening four Premier League matches.
Their two victories against Wolves and Nottingham Forest weren’t the most convincing either. Wolves were denied a clear penalty in stoppage time on the opening day, while Forest led 2-0 inside four minutes at Old Trafford.
United are already six points adrift of Manchester City, who are the only side with a perfect record. Brighton visit United after the international break before the Champions League opener against group favourites Bayern Munich.
However, Ten Hag’s side then have a more favourable run into the middle and latter stages of October before the visit of City on October 29. It will instead be the month between November 29 and December 30 that could prove vital.
United first face a trip to Galatasaray in the fifth match of their Champions League group. The Red Devils will likely need to get at least a point from that game to secure qualification to the knockout stage.
They then play away at Newcastle in the Premier League the following weekend, before Mauricio Pochettino takes his Chelsea side to Old Trafford for a midweek clash on December 6. Newcastle and Chelsea have had difficult starts to the season but will be hoping to have seen their fortunes change by then.
United host Bournemouth in the league on December 9 before they welcome Bayern on December 12 in the final group game. Ten Hag will be hoping they have wrapped up qualification by then.
Two difficult away games then follow in the Premier League. United visit Anfield to play Liverpool on December 16 and then the London Stadium to face West Ham on December 23. The Liverpool match speaks for itself, while the Hammers have had an excellent first four games of the season.
On Boxing Day, United are set to play Aston Villa at home. They then travel to the City Ground on December 30 for the reverse fixture against Forest, who have an excellent record on their own patch.
It is still early days in Ten Hag’s second season at United. But there is a good chance that nine-game stretch could prove pivotal in how they fare both domestically and in Europe.