Premier League fixtures this weekend have handed Manchester United a lucrative opportunity to establish their place in the top four.
The Red Devils got their job done by overseeing a 1-0 win at the Molineux in a tightly-contested clash with Wolves. The result put United in the top four for the first time all season.
The 3pm kickoffs then saw both Manchester City and Newcastle United draw their respective matches and drop points, meaning United are now just two points behind the Magpies having played one less game. Eddie Howe’s side will face league leaders Arsenal next, who have lost just one game all season – at Old Trafford.
United are also four points behind rivals City, with the highly-anticipated Manchester derby set for January 14. The game is a must-win for Erik ten Hag’s side anyway, but the added possibility of moving to within one point of their opponents is one they must capitalise on.
City will travel to Stamford Bridge on January 5, then United, then Tottenham Hotspur.
Today results again swayed in the Reds’ favour as Tottenham Hotspur were defeated 2-0 at home to Aston Villa, which means United stay put in fourth place heading into the forthcoming game week.
On Tuesday evening, United host Bournemouth at Old Trafford and the fixture cannot finish as anything other than a win. Three points are absolutely crucial. These are the matches that, in previous years, the team failed to take advantage of.
There are also fixtures in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League fast approaching. Ten Hag will have to be mindful when it comes to rotation, especially given our lack of depth in the forward department, but he should be deploying strong line-ups.
Each competition provides a real chance for him to secure silverware in his first year in charge. He is already backed by the United faithful and a trophy this season would make the feeling at the club even more positive than it is right now.
Low expectations for January transfer window
This January transfer window is set to be a frustrating one; the Glazers are unwilling to spend, and United need a striker. However, it’s important to note that this should, hopefully, be the last one under their ownership. If Ten Hag is able to succeed with what he already has, next season could look completely different if he is backed appropriately.