This week at United: Six games for four teams
December is always the busiest time of year in the football calendar, and unsurprisingly this first full week of the month has Manchester United involved in two Premier League matches. It’s also a hectic week for our Academy and women's teams, so here’s a handy guide to the games and events to look out for...
Our first-team squad return to work at the Aon Training Complex, following Saturday's 2-2 draw at Southampton. Despite being disappointed by dropping two points at St Mary’s, Jose Mourinho was pleased with the players’ attitude.
“Overall I am not happy with the result,”he said after the game,
“but I cannot be critical, I think the spirit was good, I think the desire was good."
The FA Cup appears on our agenda for the first time this season with the third-round draw taking place at 19:30 GMT. The procedure will be broadcast live in the UK on BBC One - watch out for ball number 24! Whoever we are pitted against, the match will take place over the first weekend in January, just after our midweek away trip to Newcastle United.
Attention will switch quickly to our first Premier League clash of the week, when Jose speaks to the media on the eve of the Arsenal match. With eight games to oversee this month, the boss could well rotate his options, so keep up to date with the latest team news by visiting ManUtd.com, following live updates in our official app or watching the full press conference on MUTV.
Our women's team will be in Continental Tyres League Cup action for the first time since August, when Durham visit Leigh Sports Village. In a four-team group, it's the third fixture for Casey Stoney's side, who previously beat Liverpool 1-0 and lost to Reading 2-0. The match begins at 19:00 GMT.
Kick-off at Old Trafford comes an hour later, as Mourinho's men face Arsenal. Arsene Wenger was coming to the end of his 22-year tenure when the Gunners came to Manchester in April, so new opposition boss Unai Emery will be a comparatively unfamiliar face in the dugout. A win for the Reds would be a second in a row at home following the 1-0 victory against Young Boys last week.
Anthony Martial will be hoping to make it an extra-special week by bagging a goal on Wednesday, his 23rd birthday. The attacker already has seven strikes to his name in all competitions this season.
The Christmas tree lights will be officially switched on at Old Trafford by some special guests, assisted by local children who will attend with Manchester United Foundation.
Thursday also marks 26 years to the day since Eric Cantona made his debut for United. The Frenchman first donned the red jersey when he was introduced as a substitute in a 2-1 victory against Manchester City.
The Under-23s are back in action after a two-week break with a home clash against Middlesbrough at Leigh Sports Village. A win could move Ricky Sbragia's side up to second in the Premier League 2 table. Make sure to watch MUTV for exclusive live coverage of the match.
Earlier that day, Jose will be back in front of the cameras for his second pre-match press conference of the week. This time, the boss will be answering questions on Saturday's clash with Claudio Ranieri’s Fulham.
It’s another big matchday for United, but before the senior side are in action, our Under-18s take on Chelsea at the Aon Training Complex. The game is an important Premier League Cup fixture, and the sides will meet again nine days later in the FA Youth Cup.
Later, at 15:00 GMT, the Reds will welcome a second Premier League club from London in the space of four days. It’s the first time in five seasons that we have played Fulham - the last was a 2-2 draw in 2014 when Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick scored.
Also on Saturday, we will be wishing Scott McTominay a very happy 22nd birthday. Hopefully the Scottish international can enjoy it by reflecting on a victory against the Cottagers.
United Women face Durham for the second time in just four days, this time by travelling north for a league fixture which could extend the Reds' lead at the top of the Women's Championship.
Our #Treble99 campaign on ManUtd.com, marking two decades since the Treble-winning season, will continue with a look back at a Bayern Munich game. No, not that one at the Nou Camp, but an earlier meeting in Manchester at the end of an exciting group stage.
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