Following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under enormous pressure to turn his side’s fortunes around – and fast.
Defeat to City marked United’s fourth defeat in their last six Premier League matches, leaving them nine points behind current table-toppers Chelsea and five points shy of the top-four.
It is understood that whilst United are not ready to sack Solskjaer just yet, the Norwegian’s position is increasingly at risk, meaning he has to get wins on the board and make his side entertaining to watch again fairly quickly.
The international break may have come at the ideal time for the United boss, allowing him an opportunity to work with his players who aren’t on international duty without the disruption of a game to get in the way. The Reds are not back in action until November 20.
Once United do resume their campaign against Watford a week-on-Saturday, the pressure is going to be on Solskjaer. There is no room for any more slip-ups.
With United now 11 games into their Premier League campaign and their title aspirations all but over already, here is a close look at how their next six league games compare with the other five clubs that currently make up the top-six.
United – 6th (17pts) Although United’s form has been dismal of late, the fact that Liverpool slipped up against West Ham United on Sunday has kept the top-four within touching distance.
If United are to bridge that gap, however, they are going to have get wins on the board fairly quickly, especially in this upcoming period, which features a range of fixture types.
After facing Watford at Vicarage Road in their first game back after the international break, United travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea, meaning that will be another daunting prospect against one of the leading title contenders.
After facing the Blues at Stamford Bridge on November 28, United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford just four days later. A few weeks ago, this game would have been seen as a good opportunity for the Reds to secure three points. However, Arsenal have turned the screw in recent weeks and will offer a stern test.
Following the clash with Arsenal, United welcome another London club to Old Trafford, this time Crystal Palace. Despite Patrick Vieira’s side not being considered as one of the Premier League’s elite, they have already won at the Etihad Stadium this season, offering a warning sign for what they are capable of.
After facing the Gunners, United then face back-to-back away games against Norwich City and Brentford, in easier looking contests, if the Premier League does offer such thing.
United’s next six Premier League fixtures:
Crystal Palace (H)
Norwich City (A)
Arsenal – 5th (20pts) Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Watford at the weekend continued the Gunners’ recent resurgence under Mikel Arteta. After a terrible start to the campaign, the north Londoners are now unbeaten in their last eight league games, winning their last three on the trot, moving above United in the table in the process.
Mikel Arteta has overseen a rapid improvement at Arsenal in recent months. (Image: Robin Jones/Getty Images.) Like United’s, Arsenal’s upcoming fixtures are likely to give a more accurate reading of where they are currently at, starting with a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool after the international break.
After facing Jurgen Klopp’s side, the Gunners will welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates Stadium. A few days later, the Gunners will again head north, this time to face United at Old Trafford in their first game of December.
Arsenal will remain north for their following game, with a trip to Everton to come on December 6. Arteta’s side then have back-to-back home games to come against Southampton and West Ham United respectively, meaning they will have two stern tests at home after challenging away matches.
Arsenal’snext six Premier League fixtures:
Newcastle United (H)
Manchester United (A)
West Ham United (H)
Liverpool – 4th (22pts) Following the international break, all eyes will be on Liverpool to see how they respond to their first defeat of the season, following their 3-2 reverse at West Ham.
After facing Arsenal at Anfield on November 20, Klopp’s side have another home game to look forward to against Southampton a week later, meaning they will no doubt be targeting six points from those two matches.
A short trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Merseyside derby kicks-off Liverpool’s December schedule, before facing Wolverhampton Wanderers, also away from home, a few days later.
The Anfield outfit then have another two home games to look forward to against Aston Villa and Newcastle, meaning four home games in their next six matches looks like an opportunity for them to get back on track after a minor blip.
Liverpool’snext six Premier League fixtures:
Aston Villa (H)
Newcastle United (H)
West Ham – 3rd (23pts) Arguably the surprise package of the season so far, all eyes will now be on West Ham to see if they can remain in the top-three after moving above Liverpool on Sunday.
Their upcoming fixture schedule, at first glance, looks a daunting prospect, but having beaten Liverpool they are not likely to fear anyone.
Their first game after the international break is a trip to Molineux to face Wolves, before locking horns with Manchester City just over a week later at the Etihad Stadium.
After two games on the road, the Hammers will return to more familiar surroundings, facing both Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea at home in the space of four days.
David Moyes’ side will then be back on the road for back-to-back away trips against Burnley and Arsenal, meaning four of the Hammers next six matches are away from home, as well as the fact that four of them are against sides currently camped inside the top-seven.
West Ham’s next six Premier League fixtures:
Manchester City (A)
Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
David Moyes and West Ham United are enjoying a season to remember so far. (Image: Ian Kington/AFP via Getty Images.) Man City – 2nd (23pts) After cruising past United on Saturday in the Manchester derby, City will be looking to build on their derby day triumph when they face Everton at the Etihad Stadium after the international break.
After facing Rafael Benitez’s side, City have another home game to fulfil, this time against West Ham on November 28.
City then face back-to-back away games, first against Aston Villa to kick-off their December schedule, before facing Watford a few days later.
Pep Guardiola’s side then return to the Etihad for back-to-back home games against both Wolves and Leeds United, meaning four of their next six are at home and only two of them, as things stand, are against sides currently in the top half of the table.
Man City’snext six Premier League fixtures:
West Ham (H)
Aston Villa (A)
Leeds United (H)
Chelsea – 1st (26pts) Currently top of the pile after 11 games, Chelsea will be hoping to retain top spot on the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
Despite being held to a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Saturday, the west London club still has a three-point advantage at the summit and they will be hoping to retain that gap when they face Leicester City away from home a-week-on-Saturday.
After resuming their campaign against the Foxes, Thomas Tuchel’s side then face United at Stamford Bridge just over a week later.
A trip to Vicarage Road to face Watford kicks December off for the current league leaders, before they travel to West Ham a few days later.
The Blues then have back-to-back home games against Leeds and Everton.
Chelseanext six Premier League fixtures:
Leicester City (A)
Manchester United (H)
West Ham (A)
Leeds United (H)
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