Five things we noticed about United's 23/24 fixtures
The 2023/24 Premier League season has been mapped out for Manchester United following the announcement of the fixtures earlier today (Thursday).
We now know when the Reds are initially scheduled to face the other 19 top-flight sides, home and away, from August to May, and supporters have had the opportunity to get their teeth into the full schedule since the morning's news.
Across United’s 38-game list, there are plenty of aspects that catch the eye and we’ve picked out five such items below...
SEVEN IN A ROW
The fact our opening clash with Wolves is on home soil should delight supporters eagerly waiting to get back to Old Trafford but also the players, who were almost imperious there last season. United lost just once on our own patch in the Premier League in 2022/23 and that was in the very first round of fixtures, against Brighton. Our strong form in M16 was the backbone of a successful first campaign under Erik ten Hag. This will be the seventh successive term in which we’ve started at Old Trafford (we've won four and lost two of the previous six) but the first one since 2012/13 to begin on a Monday night.
EARLY AWAYS IN NORTH LONDON
After we kick off the campaign at Old Trafford, Ten Hag’s side will head to the capital for matchday two, where a Tottenham team under the new management of Ange Postecoglou awaits. As away games go on the schedule, it’s the first of back-to-back trips to north London for United (either side of a match at home to Nottingham Forest) with Arsenal to come in our fourth league outing, on the provisional date of Saturday 2 September. The Gunners were early-season opponents for us last season too, with the 3-1 win over Mikel Arteta’s side at Old Trafford being our sixth league game of 2022/23.
OUR TOUGHEST RUN?
In every team’s order of matches, there usually lies a crunch period which tends to stand out when first looking at the schedule. Of course, there are no easy games in the Premier League, but some stretches certainly look potentially tougher to navigate than others. A run that encompasses visits to Everton and Newcastle, home games against Chelsea and Bournemouth and a return to Merseyside to face Liverpool – all between 25 November and 16 December – may on paper be United’s most arduous run, particularly when also factoring our final two Champions League group games into the mix.
Our final fixture of this calendar year is currently pencilled in to be away to Nottingham Forest on 30 December, while the Reds’ first league outing of 2024 would not come until a mid-January meeting with Tottenham at Old Trafford. That game, however, could be pushed back another weekend (to 20 January), depending on the layout of the Premier League’s to-be-confirmed mid-season break. Ten Hag’s side will have an Emirates FA Cup third-round tie in the time between the Forest and Tottenham fixtures, along with a potential Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.
OLD TRAFFORD'S RUN-IN
Our form against the ‘big six’ and in key clashes at Old Trafford last season was a real positive to come out of the 2022/23 campaign. It can’t be said enough how big of an impact the supporters had on those matches, and our home backing could therefore have a crucial say in the closing weeks of the 2023/24 campaign. As it stands, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Arsenal are all set to visit M16 across April and May, in what could be crucial ‘six pointers’ - to coin a cliché - in determining the final top-flight standings and our finish to the Premier League campaign.
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