Analysis of Manchester United's fixtures for the 2016-17 Premier League season
With the Copa America Centenario and the EURO in the same year, football fans had all the reasons to enjoy this break. However, the focus now shifts to the club level where millions are being spent on transfers each day, as the giants of Europe are gearing up for the coming season.
With a dismal EURO campaign for England, a lot has been questioned regarding the quality of EPL. When it comes down to glamour and sheer excitement, the Premier League has unmatched fan following compared to the La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A or any domestic league around the globe.
The battle gets more enthralling this season as some high profile managers go head-to-head in the quest for glory. Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte will be the newcomers and will hope to propel their respective teams to the top of the table. The league already has proven characters in Claudio Ranieri, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp, and Ronald Koeman alongside the veteran Arsene Wenger.
The spotlight will be on The Special One – Jose Mourinho though. After a disappointing spell of 3 seasons, Manchester United fans will hope to see events turn to their favor, this time around. A lot is expected from Jose Mourinho, and considering the transfer activity so far, he has not disappointed.
The road to EPL champions is certainly strenuous for Mourinho and United. Let’s have a look at the fixtures and analyze what the fans can anticipate in the coming few months.
United will kick off their campaign against Bournemouth on 14th with an away trip to the Vitality Stadium, where they lost the tie last time they visited. This time though with all the resources and Mourinho in charge, United is expected to win, before they welcome Southampton on 19th, again a tie they lost last time at Old Trafford. They visit K. C. stadium next to face newly promoted Hull. A good opening month is expected for United.
September will be a challenging month for United as they play both Manchester City and Leicester City at home, while playing a tricky away match to Watford in between. Mourinho’s first real challenge as a United manager will be against his arch-rival, Pep Guardiola, as the Red Devils welcome City to Old Trafford on 10th for the 1st derby of the season.
The derby will see Jose battling it out with Pep for the 1st time in the EPL. Presumably both managers will be cautious in their approach as they hope to avoid humiliation at such an early stage of the league.
If United manage a positive result against City and follow it up with a win against Watford, they will face the defending champions next, with a spring in their step and the result may prove vital in the long run.
This will be a tricky month for Manchester united. They start with a home match against Stoke, a tie they convincingly won last time before they visit Liverpool and Chelsea in succession.
It will be an emotional return for Jose at the Stanford Bridge, and it will be interesting to see how the faithful at the bridge welcome their former hero in the visitor’s dugout. If United can pull off some good results, they will expect to end their October campaign on a high with a home win against newly promoted Burnley.
United lost 1-2 last year at the Liberty stadium, but will hope to win it against Swansea this time around. The next two fixtures of the month will be crucial for United as they expect to clinch maximum points on their home turf.
The task is not easy though, as they first welcome Arsenal and then the Hammers in the space of 8 days. United should perform really well to be in the title race and fans may be in for a roller coaster ride.
December is one of the most enduring months for the Red Devils as they look to end the year on a high note. United’s bench strength will play a key role as they play six PL matches in 28 days. The first 3 matches are quite dicey as they play away to Everton and Crystal Palace on 3rd and 14th, while playing a home match against Spurs on 11th.
Later they visit The Hawthorns to play West Brom on 17th, before they return to play against Sunderland on Boxing Day at home. Back in the premier league after their relegation in 2008-09, Middlesbrough visits The Old Trafford on the very last day of the year.
Going into the 2nd half of the league, it will be vital for United to rack up at least 4 wins to be in the title race. With the transfer window due to open, the period will be vital for few players also, as they expect to convince the management and avoid being in the wrong side of Jose’s transfer activity.