Manchester United had a poor run in February with frustrating draws in the Premier League while bowing out of the FA Cup with a shock fourth round defeat to Middlesbrough.
The Red Devils are still fourth in the Premier League standings with 47 points on the board but sixth-placed Arsenal, in particular, are just two points adrift of them with three matches in hand.
The club no longer have control of their Champions League destiny but have the opportunity to boost their prospects by building a winning streak over the next few weeks.
It appears an arduous task with Man Utd’s fixtures on paper: Ralf Rangnick’s side take on Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool before the next international break.
Let’s have a look at how they could fare against those teams.
Manchester City – Premier League (March 6, away)
United were second best in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, where the Cityzens cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win. However, it was their first Manchester derby triumph in the league since 2019.
The Red Devils’ counter-attacking style has worked well against their arch-rivals in recent years.
They have picked up an impressive three wins and one draw in the last five league meetings.
There should be plenty of optimism ahead of the game. The club have won in their last two visits to the Etihad Stadium, and the current one is a potential must-win to stay fourth on the table.
It won’t be a surprise if they manage to get something from the contest. United’s defensive woes may contribute to them conceding, but the Cityzens are not the best-organised outfit in counter-attacking situations.
Prediction: Man City 1-1 Man Utd.
Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League (March 12, home)
United have had the edge over Spurs over the years. It was the case during the previous meeting on the road
The 3-0 victory against the north London club came just days after the humiliating 5-0 home loss at the hands of Liverpool.
The Red Devils have won four of the last six meetings against Spurs with just one defeat. The loss was the 6-1 rout at Old Trafford, which was assisted by Anthony Martial’s early but controversial sending off.
Former United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer outsmarted Spurs with a 3-5-2- formation with Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani starting up front. Both were on the scoresheet.
On the other hand, Spurs failed to register a single shot on target. Rangnick could be tempted to try out the same system with Antonio Conte expected to stick with a three-man backline.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-0 Tottenham.
Atletico Madrid – Champions League (March 15, home)
United were far from impressive in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. They were fortuitous to register a 1-1 draw.
Atletico could have scored three times, but Anthony Elanga salvaged a draw with a superb cameo display.
There is all to play for in the second leg at Old Trafford, considering away goals are no longer a factor in European competitions.
The Red Devils will need to make a quick start to capitalise on Atletico’s defensive shortcomings.
The La Liga champions have been known for their defensive resolve over the years, but this season has been quite different. They have conceded 34 goals in 26 games.
It could be an open affair with goals for both teams, but United should edge the contest.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-1 Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool – Premier League (March 20, away)
The fixture will be postponed if Liverpool beat Norwich City in the FA Cup fifth round tonight.
That appears a very likely scenario with the Canaries having convincingly lost all three games against the Reds this season.
United experienced their worst result of the campaign with the 5-0 drubbing against the Reds at Old Trafford.
Things could have been worse, considering Paul Pogba was sent off at the hour mark. The club avoided further embarrassment.
Considering the form of both teams, it does not appear the best time to play the Reds, who are currently on a stunning 10-match winning streak in all competitions.
If the Reds do slip-up against Norwich, it could be another one-sided league encounter.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have won the last two meetings against United with a 9-2 aggregate. In league terms, they have been plenty of draws before with just one solitary victory for United since January 2016.
It could be three wins in a row for the hosts, but United will be expected to secure at least one point.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Man Utd.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com.
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