Opinion: Why I can’t wait for 2020/21 to begin

Monday 07 September 2020 14:07

It may be just 22 days since Manchester United’s 2019/20 campaign ended, but the focus has very much turned to the start of a new term.

The end of another season normally means a little break in the relentless footballing grind, but not this summer, with European and international matches dominating the headlines over the past few weeks.

Yet, with the Europa League and Champions League wrapped up and the Nations League double headers beginning to draw to a close, the spotlight is shifting on to what comes next… the 2020/21 season.
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Technically it has already started, with the Community Shield two weeks ago and the first round of Carabao Cup games taking place in the last few days, but for Premier League fans this weekend is where it all really begins.

But then again, it also doesn’t, with United and three other top-flight sides not in action during the inaugural round of fixtures. It all just feels a bit strange, a bit different from what we’re used to - and this season really will be exceptional.

After casually casting my eye over the upcoming months in the football calendar, it struck me just how intense and relentless the new term will be.

Minus a few international breaks, the Reds’ schedule is absolutely jam-packed! In fact, once it all gets going again in 12 days’ time, United players may not have a free midweek for the rest of the calendar year. Incredibly, that could be 10 consecutive midweek fixtures, taking out international breaks.

For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his staff, that provides a very unique set of challenges and opportunities. It will be fascinating to see how the boss manages his squad throughout the next few months. It’s not a case of will Ole rotate, more how and when to best utilise those changes.

Rotation brings with it further consequences: will more youngsters be given first-team minutes? Could we see on-field relationships develop? How will Donny van de Beek fit into the system - and any other potential new recruits?

All of these questions will be answered over the course of the season, but in the meantime let’s appreciate the spectacle that we have ahead of us: months and months of uninterrupted football coverage.

Take our first two weeks of the new season, which kicks off on 19 September when we host Crystal Palace. A few days later we’re in Carabao Cup action against either Reading or Luton Town, before we travel to Brighton & Hove Albion the following weekend. Next, it’s the fourth round of the Carabao Cup (should we progress) and then a hectic first stretch of the season ends by playing Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. That’s five games, in potentially just 15 days!
The Reds face a similar schedule after the international break, with a trip to St James’s Park getting us started, before we face our first group game in the Champions League a few days later. That ushers in three consecutive midweek European clashes, sandwiched between league games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton.

With no definitive plans for when supporters will be allowed to return to stadiums, the majority of us will have to watch along on TV. Admittedly, that’s a hard one to take for regular match-going fans, but in the meantime let’s just acknowledge the unprecedented festival of football we’re set to have on our hands.

As football fans it doesn’t get much better than this. All the twists and turns, the drama, the shocks, the highs and the lows: we’ve got all of this to come!

Cancel any plans, switch on the telly, put your feet up, get the kettle on - or maybe the odd beer - and let’s just sit back and drink it all in.

Wall-to-wall football, with cup games, huge Premier League clashes and a few European giants on the horizon - we’re all set for something quite amazing!
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UNITED’S OPENING TWO MONTHS IN FULL:

19 September: United v Crystal Palace (17:30 BST)
22/23 September: Reading/Luton v United*
26 September: Brighton v United (12:30 BST)
29/30 September: Carabao Cup fourth round
3 October: United v Tottenham*

17 October: Newcastle v United*
20/21 October: Champions League matchday 1
24 October: United v Chelsea*
27/28 October: Champions League matchday 2
31 October: United v Arsenal*
3/4 November: Champions League matchday 3
7 November: Everton v United*

*Final dates yet to confirmed.

The opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Manchester United Football Club.

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.

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