Three For MUFC: Three things that Manchester United should or shouldn’t do over the coming week.
After a win, albeit a non-convincing one, against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, United head into a busy Christmas period with both league and cup competitions to get stuck into.
An away trip down to the south-west awaits Jose Mourinho’s men. The quarter-final of the Carabao Cup sees United head to Ashton Gate to play Bristol City. United are the current holders of the competition and Mourinho will not want to relinquish the trophy.
The busy week also includes a trip to Leicester City and a Boxing Day clash at home to Burnley. Both teams in fine form, bar the recent blip by Leicester at home to Palace. The home game last season against Burnley will be remembered for the Red Devils having over 30 shots on the Clarets goal, only for Tom Heaton to be in the form of his life. I would know, i was there that day!
The following fixtures are on this weeks calendar.
20th December: Away – Bristol City ( Carabao Cup )
23rd December: Away – Leicester City
26th December: Home – Burnley
1 – Rotation
With three games in six days, Mourinho will have to use his squad wisely. Paul Pogba, returning from his suspension should make an appearance in the cup. Scott McTominay and a few other fringe players, Matteo Darmian, Sergio Romero and Luke Shaw, will no doubt all be given a chance to shine. Zlatan Ibrahimovic could also be in line for his first start over the festive period, quite remarkable considering the Swedish Lion, was only sidelined in April for a long-term injury.
2 – Crank Up The Pressure
United are currently trailing the runaway train called Manchester City. Eleven points behind and with no signs of the Blue resistance slowing down, its imperative that United take maximum points over the festive period. Failure to do so and we can kiss goodbye to any slim chances of winning the Premier League title. In the 1997/98 season, United went into the new year with an impressive gap of thirteen points over Arsenal. The Gunners would keep plugging away and by the time the wrappers from the easter eggs were thrown in the bin, Arsenal had not only pegged back United, but beaten them at Old Trafford and sped past them. A glimmer of hope, one of which i shall cling too!
3 – Bring Back Micky
A well-publicised bust-up has claimed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has one leg out of the Old Trafford exit. This, I believe, is a ridiculous thing for the boss to do. Unfortunately, we all know how stubborn the man from Portugal can be. Mourinho benched Micky at the beginning of last season after a poor showing in the derby. Micky had to wait till Christmas before cementing his spot in the team. Fast forward a year and the opposite can be said. Not even in the last couple of match day squads, Micky has had to endure a stint with the ressies. The Armenians loss of form coincided with the absence of Paul Pogba. United started shelling the ball up to Lukaku, missing out the midfield playmaker. His off the ball work rate clearly not impressing the boss, while the team was out of possession. Get this lad back with a smile on his face and it really would be like a new signing. I feel we might just have seen the last of him. I hope not.
I love the games at Christmas, the cut and thrust of the Premier League with games coming thick and fast. Let’s just hope the title race isn’t over by January 1st.