Opinion: Six games we can't wait for in 2020/21

Tuesday 01 September 2020 13:36

The month of September is upon us and that means the start of the 2020/21 season is very nearly here, which is great news for Manchester United supporters craving the Reds’ return.

The full Premier League fixture list was officially released last month and the UEFA Champions League matchday dates were also confirmed, providing a glimpse of the campaign to come.

There is so much to look forward to for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young and improving side, across all competitions. Here are just six games and occasions that we can’t wait for…

Crystal Palace at home is not a glamour tie, normally, but the first match of any season is always a huge occasion and this curtain-raiser can’t come quickly enough. We’re starting a week later than most other clubs, of course, owing to our prolonged participation in the 2019/20 Europa League, but that absence only makes the heart grow fonder. And might we see a new signing(s) as well? It’s all part of the intrigue, as the Reds begin another campaign with renewed determination, focus and energy. Our clocks are all counting down to Saturday 19 September and that 17:30 BST kick-off. 

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The Europa League has been great fun over the last 12 months, pitting us against clubs we’ve rarely faced before and taking us to fascinating cities across Europe (before lockdown), but it’s not a patch on the Champions League and our club belongs in the European Cup. The group-stage draw takes place in Athens on 1 October, but we already know that Ole’s Reds will face one of seven clubs from Pot One - Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Zenit - virtually guaranteeing a huge game under those glistening floodlights at the Theatre of Dreams. 
It’s a fixture we all look for when the long list is released over the summer and, this season, we’ve been drawn a Christmas cracker in Leicester City away, which should be a vital match for both clubs – and hopefully in the title race, in our case at least. The Foxes might have unfinished business with us, too, following our decisive 2-0 victory at the King Power Stadium in July that guaranteed our Champions League status for 2020/21, also placing them in the Europa League. It’s a gift of a fixture!
Ole was still a player when United last travelled to Elland Road in the Premier League, almost 17 years ago in October 2003, and everyone is relishing the return of this historic rivalry. Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted side will visit Old Trafford on 19 December and that will be great, but it’s our trip across the Pennines that many Reds are most excited for! Hopefully, by the time of that fixture on 24 April 2021, capacity crowds will be allowed back into stadiums again and we’ll enjoy what will surely be a white-hot atmosphere. 
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There’s something about derby-day at Old Trafford that makes me nervous – the fear of losing on our own patch, I guess - but that’s never the case when travelling to the Etihad Stadium and we’ve had some success there in recent seasons. Last season's 2-1 away win in December was one of our outstanding performances of the campaign and the 1-0 Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg victory also offered encouragement for the future, even though we ultimately lost on aggregate. The 2020/21 derby in the blue half of Manchester is currently scheduled for Saturday 6 March. 
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When the fixtures were released last month, we opened a poll asking fans which match against our historic rivals they are most looking forward to and Liverpool at Old Trafford won by a clear majority, with 37 per cent of votes cast. The Merseysiders remain our fiercest rivals and especially now they’ve ended that 30-year wait for a title: they’ve got 19, we’ve got 20 and the battle for supremacy continues. Could this game decide who gets the next one? Bring on 1 May 2021.

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

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