Manchester United have been on a good run in December as a whole, beating Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur whilst qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League. Despite there being a lot of inconsistencies on and off the pitch, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men are now hitting into their fine form as several of their experienced players have now returned from injury.
Solskjaer hasn’t had a lot of good moments since becoming the permanent manager of Manchester United, and one could probably say that there has been a few games at best of what the Old Trafford faithful of seen of how the 46-year-old Norwegian international wants his team to play with and without the ball. But given the side’s lack of quality and depth as a whole, the United supporters and the key people within the board are willing to have faith in him and give him the time he wants.
The Red Devils will be coming up against Watford at Vicarage Road, with a potential victory helping them to progress towards a top four position, but when it comes to an important and meaningful game like this, they have the tendency to drop their concentration levels and fail to simply show up.
Regardless of the end outcome on Sunday afternoon, it will not make a huge difference to Solskjaer’s future at the club, as the people in charge as well as Ed Woodward will feel it would be too early to make a managerial change or decision, and it could potentially push the Manchester United fanbase to protest against them given their lack of ability to plan and succeed effectively.
It’s now time to see the upcoming fixtures that Manchester United will take part in…
Watford, away in the league
Given the opposition’s overall form and their position in the league table, United should feel the upcoming match at Vicarage Road should be a straightforward one, where they should be able to pick up the much needed three points and score a couple of goals. And with Paul Pogba travelling with the match-day squad, the side have someone who can unlock a stubborn and low-block defence, something they were struggling to do over the last few weeks against mid-table teams.
However, many of the United supporters will not be confident going into the game, especially when you consider the side’s away form so far this season, only picking up nine points away from home, which is less than the likes Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and West Ham United.
Newcastle, at home in the league
The Toons have hit into a good stride of results in their recent fixtures, beating the difficult teams in Crystal Palace and Sheffield United whilst pushing forward in the top half of the league. Though, with Manchester United’s record at home being decent and have only lost on one occasion, there shouldn’t be much problems for Ole’s men to achieve the victory and continue their fight to get into the top four positions. With the likes of Arsenal, Leicester and Wolves expected to drop points in that gameweek, it would be a huge moment if United were to take the advantage for the first time.
Burnley, away in the league
Going to the Turf Moor is not easy for many sides, no matter whether you are one of the best teams in the league or one on of the mid-table teams. Sean Dyche’s men are one of the toughest types to deal with, as they play out in a 4-4-2 setup, and are very difficult to break down whilst the physical presence in midfield and attack do more than enough to be effective in the final third of the pitch. Burnley have one of the best home records in the league from the teams outside of the main top-six sides, so United will have to offer a lot more than they usually do in order to gain all three points.
Arsenal, away in the league
Although the fixture is just over a week away, United would have loved to play Arsenal at this moment of time, as they go through a managerial change and with majority of the squad lacking the desire and motivation to fight for the club they play for. With the Gunners facing Bournemouth and Chelsea within a matter of days before they play United, Mikel Arteta will have to get down to work as soon as possible and try to prevent the ship from sinking further, which will not be an easy job.
Wolves, away in the FA Cup
It’s fair to say Wolves have become a bogey time for United, as they have failed to beat The Wanderers on a few occasions since they have been promoted to the Premier League. And with Nuno Espirito Santo turning the Molineux Stadium into a fortress, the FA Cup fixture may result in only one way, with the hosts beating the visitors with their direct and counter-attacking approach. Depending on who is available and free to be used, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see United’s away form go from bad to worse, as Wolves will be very dangerous with their pace and movement.
There is no certainty with where United will stand in the Premier League following these fixtures, but if they were to pick up at least 10 points whilst seeing the other teams around them drop points, it would potentially see them in the top four positions just as they go into the new year on a high note.
Overall, the results over next couple of weeks may affect any plans they have in the January transfer window, as a majority of rumours within the English media have began to state that a number of players could be leaving and moving to Old Trafford next month. Let the big run of games begin.