Man Utd’s hectic pre-World Cup fixture list analysed & when Erik ten Hag could look to rotate

Manchester United face 13 matches in a little over six weeks and we explain why it could be such a pivotal period in the season.

Manchester United return to action this weekend when they play Manchester City in the Premier League.

Like most top-flight clubs, it was a quiet September for the Red Devils, who played just four matches across the whole month.

However, in October that figure jumps to nine, with a further four matches to be played across the first two weeks of November.

Ahead of what is an action-packed calendar, we take a look at what to expect from United in the coming weeks…

Why is the schedule so busy?

The fixture list is so heavily packed in order to accommodate the World Cup which begins in late November.

The last Premier League matches prior to the tournament in Qatar will be played on the weekend of 12/13 November, with top-flight clubs returning to action across 20/21 December in the EFL Cup.

United’s squad will need to be kept fresh over the coming six weeks. Credit: Getty.

To allow for the World Cup break, the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League are set to finish a month early while there are several midweek rounds of Premier League fixtures across the season.

Who do Man Utd play in October?

Between now and mid-November, United essentially play every Thursday and Sunday, with one week proving the exception as there is a Wednesday/Saturday set of fixtures.

In the six-week period, United face a daunting league schedule which included matches against City, Everton, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, West Ham United, Aston Villa and Fulham.

The Red Devils also play Villa in the EFL Cup and will wrap up their Europa League group by early November.

United face Villa in back-to-back game during November. Credit: Getty.

Ten Hag’s side will play Omonia Nicosia twice and meet Sheriff Tiraspol and Real Sociedad for a second time in the group.

Where can Ten Hag rotate?

The Europa League fixtures are likely to provide United with an opportunity to rest and rotate the squad during the hectic period.

Omonia and Sheriff shouldn’t prove to be particularly challenging opponents, while affording his main stars the opportunity to miss a trip to Cyprus could also be in Ten Hag’s best interests.

Other than that, the Villa double header may also be a good chance to give players some much-needed time off.

Is this a pivotal period?

United did well to arrest an alarming run of results at the start of the campaign, but should the rot once again set in over October, it could have huge consequences for the campaign.

The upcoming period could prove pivotal for United’s season. Credit: Getty.

There will be no chance for major team debriefs or to implement detailed tactical plans on the training ground.

United will play 21 percent of their 2022/23 Premier League fixtures in this period and it will be a pivotal spell for their hopes of regaining a Champions League spot.

Likewise, an EFL Cup exit is a possibility and United’s Europa League group-stage fate will be decided across the next five weeks.

The Red Devils need to secure top spot in order to avoid adding an extra two fixtures to the calendar in 2023 and to ensure the miss playing an awkward two-legged tie against a Champions League drop-out.

Full fixture list

Manchester City vs United - Sunday 2 October (PL)

Omonia Nicosia vs United - Thursday 6 October (EL)

Everton vs United - Sunday 9 October (PL)

United vs Omonia Nicosia - Thursday 13 October (EL)

United vs Newcastle United - Sunday 16 October (PL)

United vs Tottenham Hotspur - Wednesday 19 October (PL)

Chelsea vs United -Saturday 22 October (PL)

United vs Sheriff Tiraspol - Thursday 27 October (EL)

United vs West Ham United - Sunday 30 October (PL)

Real Sociedad vs United - Thursday 3 November (EL)

Aston Villa vs United - Sunday 6 November (PL)

United vs Aston Villa - Thursday 10 November (EFLC)

Fulham vs United - Sunday 13 November (PL)