Why Boxing Day will be bigger than usual
Aside from the usual clashes with rivals and our opening and closing-day games, there’s one glaring thing you’ll notice from Manchester United’s Premier League fixture list for 2022/23.
There’s a huge, unprecedented gap of 44 days between top-flight games for the Reds in November and December.
Of course, that’s because the Premier League – along with other top domestic leagues across the globe – takes a hiatus later this year to accommodate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
That tournament gets under way on Monday 21 November, with the final set to take place 27 days later, on Sunday 18 December.
Premier League clubs will play 16 of their games this season before the World Cup starts, with players being released for international duty following the weekend of 12/13 November.
They then won’t be in action in the league again until Boxing Day, although there are Carabao Cup fourth-round fixtures scheduled for 20/21 December.
At this stage, all fixtures and kick-off times are subject to change but, for United, that means our trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday 12 November to take on newly promoted Fulham will be our final top-flight outing for over six weeks.
Our Boxing Day (26 December) fixture – always one of the most hotly anticipated dates in the calendar anyway – is therefore even bigger than usual, as it marks a return to league action, and another Premier League new boy in Nottingham Forest will visit Old Trafford.
Amazingly, it will be exactly 24 years to the day since Forest’s last trip to M16, so expect a raucous atmosphere when the two-time European champions come to town.
Five days later, on New Year’s Eve, we’ll be at Molineux to take on Wolves and the brief festive set of league fixtures concludes two days later, on Monday 2 January, as the third promoted side, Bournemouth, come to Old Trafford in our first game of 2023.
As usual, the league will then take a backseat as the Emirates FA Cup third round is scheduled for the weekend of Saturday 7 January.