There is still a huge amount of scope as to how Manchester United’s season could be viewed come the end of the season.
A first trophy since 2017 is already in the bag, a superb achievement for Erik ten Hag, and they are still in the Europa League and the FA Cup. They should also have enough in the tank to secure a place in the Champions League for next season.
Going out of both of those cups and then missing out on the top four would suddenly put an extremely different complexion on the season, and that is why the next set of fixtures could be season-defining for the Red Devils.
Here are their next six games in all competitions and how they could affect United’s season.
Having progressed to the Europa League quarter-finals, United’s quest for more silverware will continue with yet another home domestic cup tie. They take on Fulham for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals and another trip to Wembley.
Fulham are enjoying a very good season and will throw absolutely everything at United to try and get to Wembley themselves but United have to be viewed as the favourites, even if they are depleted in midfield with Christian Eriksen still out and Casemiro serving a four-game domestic ban.
This is one of the biggest remaining fixtures in the hunt for the top four places and could well prove to be a must-win for Newcastle rather than the Red Devils. The atmosphere will be seriously intense at St James’ Park and it will be a really fascinating occasion.
United will be keen to ensure they don’t suffer defeat and open the door for the likes of Newcastle, Tottenham and Liverpool to try and kick them out of the Champions League places. Having fairly comfortably won the Carabao Cup final, United will be confident that they can repeat the same result.
This is another tough one for Ten Hag to negotiate and the aforementioned absence of his two best midfielders only makes things harder. This is the period of games where the quick signing of Marcel Sabitzer could start to look very smart.
Brentford are putting serious pressure on the lower European spots and will head to Old Trafford with the intention of winning. The 4-0 victory earlier in the campaign will be on their minds and the Bees will be confident of grabbing something if they catch United napping.
Matches between United and Everton often throw up a good amount of drama and it can be a tough fixture for the Red Devils, regardless of what state Everton are currently in. Sean Dyche will definitely try to make this one as tough as he possibly can for United’s forwards.
He has predictably got Everton looking much stronger defensively and he will happily make it a very dull game to watch if it means his side can grab a valuable point or even snatch all three at Old Trafford. United’s passing and movement will need to be slick and chances cannot be wasted.
In what is a pretty tough-looking run of fixtures for Manchester United, this is one they will have more confidence of winning. Nottingham Forest have improved as the season has worn on and are now seeming unlikely to go down.
That could play into United’s hands as Forest will likely try and attack when playing at home. Few teams exploit space on the break as well as Manchester United, though, and there could be plenty of joy for Ten Hag if his side is prepared to weather an early storm.
It is incredibly hard to predict a game that involves Chelsea at the moment because while their season has been really poor, there have been signs of improvement from Graham Potter’s side and every game feels like it could be the one where they burst into life.
By the time this one comes around, they could be a much more settled team with a clearer identity and favoured starting XI. It will be a big test regardless for United and particularly Ten Hag as he tries to prepare for the many scenarios Chelsea could throw at him.
Man Utd will have two Europa League matches chucked into the mix here as they got the better of Real Betis over two legs in the round of 16. They will back themselves against anyone in the quarter-finals, but it could have a bearing on their domestic matches.
The first leg is set for April 13 which falls between Everton and Forest, something Ten Hag may be pleased with. The second leg is on April 20 which means the Chelsea match could be compromised in terms of fitness and selection.