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Could Manchester United Lose Their Early Season Momentum?

by WOOWinvest
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Could Manchester United Lose Their Early Season Momentum?

On Sunday afternoon Manchester United should have been hosting Leeds United in a Premier League fixture at Old Trafford.

But earlier this week the game was postponed after Greater Manchester Police decided they did not have enough officers for the game, with significant numbers being committed to helping at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London the following day.

The fixture was also designated a Category A game, which required more officials as it was deemed high-risk because of the clubs’ rivalry.

On this weekend when 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs are in action United’s players will be taking part in a training session, or sitting at home.

This weekend’s postponement was even more unfortunate as United’s game last Sunday against Crystal Palace was also called off, along with all football across the country, as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen three days earlier.

After this weekend the Premier League takes an unusually early week-long break for international fixtures because of the upcoming mid-season World Cup in Qatar.

This means United will not play a Premier League game for almost a month; their last one was against Arsenal on September 4, and their next one is not until October 2 when they travel the short distance to Manchester City.

This will be frustrating for the United manager Erik ten Hag as it has stopped his side in their tracks just as they were building some crucial momentum.

United started slowly with two defeats against Brighton and Brentford, before staging an impressive comeback with four consecutive wins against Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester City and Arsenal.

The wins against Liverpool, the Champions League finalists, who had comfortably beaten them twice last season, and Arsenal, who when they met had won their first five games and were top of the table, were particularly satisfying.

This run helped United climb from the bottom of the table to fifth, and they would have gotten even closer to the summit with wins over Crystal Palace and Leeds.

Ten Hag has been building something impressive, quickly discovering what works best for him, which players he can trust and which players he isn’t as keen on.

In this period there have been two Europa League games, a home defeat to Real Sociedad and an away victory to Sheriff Tiraspol, but Ten Hag will ultimately be judged on how he performs in the far more demanding Premier League.

There is, however, a strong argument to suggest Ten Hag and his players could actually benefit from this unexpected Premier League shutdown.

Those four victories had already given Ten Hag some breathing space, and so he could now treat this time as another pre-season, which allows him to stage extra training sessions and really impose his ideas on his squad.

From United’s six summer signings only one of them, Tyrell Malacia, had a full pre-season, so this time now provides the others, particularly Casemiro and Antony, with more time to settle at the club and be briefed on what Ten Hag wants.

United might even be grateful for this period of relative calm, for when they resume playing on October 2 they will be plunged into a torrid schedule of 13 games in 42 days, before club football takes a 6-week break for the World Cup in November .

At the start of those fixtures next month we will soon see if United have been damaged by this shutdown, or refreshed and strengthened.

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