What’s going on this week at United?
The end of the calendar year always means a congested period of fixtures for Manchester United and, as we enter December, the games are beginning to pile up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
The Reds are in action twice over the next seven days - against Astana in the UEFA Europa League and Aston Villa in the Premier League - while our Under-18s and Women’s team also face significant tests.
Here are some dates for your diary, including a number of anniversaries and birthdays...
We’re still reacting to Sunday’s topsy-turvy 3-3 draw with Sheffield United, on our Official App and on ManUtd.com. On both platforms, you can watch the highlights from the dramatic trip to South Yorkshire and hear Ole’s post-match thoughts.
Meanwhile, this day marks two of the sadder anniversaries in the club’s history. Bill Foulkes and George Best, who, of course, featured in our 1968 European Cup-winning team, passed away on this day in 2013 and 2005 respectively.
The first-team squad travel to Kazakhstan ahead of our Europa League game against Astana on Thursday. Check our official club channels to see which players will make the long journey to Nur-Sultan. One player who could be in the travelling party is Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who will be celebrating his 22nd birthday on Tuesday.
Slightly closer to home, the Reds’ Under-18s are in action at 12:30 GMT when we travel to the West Bromwich Albion Training Ground to take on the Baggies. The Under-18 Premier League Cup game is live on MUTV, and Neil Ryan’s youngsters will be hoping to end the four-team group with a win, following draws in our previous outings against Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City. Also, at 10:00 GMT, United’s exclusive Black Friday offers begin in our Official App. Keep your eyes out for a bargain by downloading the App via Apple's App Store or Google Play Store.
Ole will brief the media prior to the match in Kazakhstan. The boss will no doubt be asked about which players he has selected to travel for the Europa League clash and could give an indication as to his starting XI for the following day. The press conference begins at 13:30 GMT and you can watch it live on MUTV or in our Official App. After that, Ole’s men will be put through their paces ahead of the match. The press will be granted access to the first 15 minutes of our training session in Nur-Sultan.
The Reds’ Europa League clash at the Astana Arena kicks off at 15:50 GMT and a win for the visitors could secure our place as winners of Group L, depending on the result of the match between AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade later in the day. It’s the first time we’ve ever played a game in Kazakhstan, which incidentally, is the furthest United have ever travelled for a match in European competition. Mason Greenwood’s strike settled the reverse fixture, at Old Trafford, in September. Given the Reds’ travel arrangements, Ole will conduct his pre-Aston Villa press conference after the game.
The Reds are due to arrive back in England in the early hours of Friday morning. Meanwhile, everyone at the club will be wishing Ryan Giggs a very happy birthday. Our record appearance holder turns 46 this week and will, no doubt, still be on cloud nine following Wales’s qualification for Euro 2020. On Black Friday, don't forget to check our exclusive offers in the Official App, with plenty of exclusive United merchandise on sale.
Our Under-18s face a second trip to West Bromwich in just five days, when we travel to the Midlands at the start of the weekend. The game kicks off at 11:30 GMT and is live on MUTV.
This day also marks 20 years since our Intercontinental Cup triumph, when the Reds beat Palmeiras 1-0 in Tokyo. Roy Keane scored the only goal of the game - which was held between the winners of the Champions League and Copa Libertadores - in 1999, and ensured we won the trophy for the first time in our history.
Our Women’s side start a busy day of football when we travel to the capital to take on West Ham United Women at the Hammers’ Rush Green Training Ground (15:00 GMT kick-off). Casey Stoney’s side beat the London outfit 2-0 last season in the Continental League Cup.
To round off the week, United’s first team welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford for the first time in four seasons. The Villans have only beaten us once in 24 home Premier League meetings – United have won 19 of those previous clashes. The game, which kicks off at 16:30 GMT, is not being broadcast live in the UK. However, you can follow the build-up and reaction on all of our usual channels.
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