The Norwegian bought off to a sensational, record-breaking begin to his tenure, however the upcoming video games will really outline his season
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has firmly thrust himself into the reckoning for the job of everlasting Manchester United supervisor after a record-breaking begin to his reign as interim boss.
After the gloom and seemingly terminal decline related to Jose Mourinho’s tenure, the Norwegian impressed an in a single day transformation, with a number of gamers present process metamorphoses.
Certainly, Solskjaer led United to eight consecutive victories in his first eight video games on the helm and, whereas some might argue that the fixture listing was variety, it stays a feat that not even Sir Alex Ferguson might obtain.
The membership’s unbeaten run stretched to a exceptional 11 video games in all competitions earlier than being dropped at an abrupt finish by Paris Saint-Germain within the Champions League on Tuesday.
How Solskjaer and his gamers reply to that loss will likely be an indicator of issues to return and it’s a true check for a group which were using a wave of positivity thus far.
“You might see that we have not performed video games at this degree for some time and we will should be taught from this expertise,” Solskjaer instructed BT Sport after the 2-Zero defeat at Outdated Trafford.
“It is a type of experiences the place it may go both means. It isn’t going to be a season-defining one for us, it needs to be one which we will be taught from.”
They’ll definitely should be taught shortly, with the fixture listing serving up a sequence of inauspicious matches, every of which might show definitive.
Nevertheless, ought to United handle to navigate their means by means of unscathed or by a minimum of sustaining as little injury as doable, they are going to have a comparatively simple run-in to shut the season.
With the Crimson Devils licking their wounds and regrouping following the PSG defeat, Objective takes a take a look at the video games that may outline United and Solskjaer’s season.
Manchester United remaining fixtures
*The desk above reveals United’s remaining fixtures however is topic to alter relying on whether or not they progress within the FA Cup and Champions League.
Video games that may outline Man Utd & Solskjaer’s season
As you may see within the desk above, United at the moment are dealing with a tough interval, to place it mildly. First up, on February 18, they tackle Chelsea within the FA Cup fifth spherical at Stamford Bridge.
On the face of it, a gathering with a Chelsea aspect which seems to be in disarray bodes nicely for United. Maurizio Sarri’s aspect have suffered numerous humiliating defeats in current weeks, shedding 4-Zero to Bournemouth, then 6-Zero to Manchester Metropolis, and performances have left a lot to be desired.
Certainly, it has reached the purpose the place the Italian’s time appears to be up, however he might be able to see out the season if he can chart a path to the FA Cup remaining. Solskjaer’s males will have to be cautious of a possible backlash from the Blues once they face off.
Both means, the end result of the sport may have a knock-on impact; a win will add one other fixture to their schedule (on the weekend of March 16 – the identical time they’re attributable to play Manchester Metropolis), whereas a loss might ease the stress by decreasing the depth of the approaching months.
Every week after the FA Cup conflict towards Chelsea, on February 24, United host rivals Liverpool at Outdated Trafford within the Premier League. Amazingly, Solskjaer has elevated the Crimson Devils to fourth place within the division and they’re now heading in the right direction for automated qualification to the Champions League – one thing that was a distant hope underneath Mourinho.
Jurgen Klopp’s aspect are enduring considerably of a tough patch too, however nowhere close to the disaster that’s afflicting Chelsea. After taking a formidable lead within the race for the title, the Merseyside outfit have surprisingly ceded floor to Manchester Metropolis and are as soon as once more taking part in catch-up to Pep Guardiola’s aspect.
Nonetheless, the Reds have proven themselves to be worthy contenders and will likely be up for the sport towards United, buoyed, little question, by the truth that they inflicted a 3-1 defeat on them at Anfield earlier this season – the sport which served as the ultimate nail in Mourinho’s coffin.
Three days later, United make the journey south to face a resurgent Crystal Palace and three days after that they host a Southampton aspect that’s in a determined battle to keep away from relegation. With video games coming in such fast succession it is going to be a check of United’s squad depth, significantly with PSG on the horizon on March 6.
United head to Paris for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and they’re combating an uphill battle to stay within the competitors, needing a minimum of three targets from the outset. Ought to they beat the chances and win it would imply they should play a minimum of two further video games in April, a month which already incorporates 4 league fixtures.
Arsenal on the Emirates follows the sport towards PSG and that encounter might nicely find yourself being a six-pointer within the race for a Champions League end. The edges performed out a 2-2 draw at Outdated Trafford in December, with United twice coming from behind to rescue a degree.
Issues have undoubtedly modified since then although and the Gunners have been worryingly inconsistent, one thing that ought to give United followers trigger for optimism, regardless of being away from residence.
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Relying on how issues go towards Chelsea in February, United might be compelled to cope with an FA Cup quarter-final on the identical weekend they’re attributable to play Manchester Metropolis within the second derby of the season, or else the sport will likely be rescheduled.
As issues stand, town rivals are set to go face to face on March 16 at Outdated Trafford, slightly below per week after United’s recreation towards Arsenal. Guardiola’s group triumphed 3-1 on the Etihad in November and Solskjaer will likely be eager to redress that in entrance of the house followers.
The Manchester derby marks the tip of a very tough run of fixtures for United and the remaining video games are comparatively simpler – on paper, that’s. League video games towards Watford, Wolves, West Ham and Everton observe, whereas Chelsea, Huddersfield City and Cardiff Metropolis are United’s remaining three video games of the season.