Make or Break: Manchester United’s Next Match Could Define the Outcome of Their Season
Man United travel to Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend, and the game could decide their season.
The upcoming match is always the most important in football, but for Manchester United, that could be the case.
Erik ten Hag has worked hard in his first season at the club to combat complacency and has consistently demanded that his players focus on the task at hand rather than looking too far ahead.
It will be a similar message as we approach the weekend. United can still win two more trophies and qualify for the Champions League before the end of the season, but first they must overcome one of their most difficult challenges.
United defeated Newcastle in their most recent meeting under the Wembley arch last month, but Eddie Howe’s side held them to a goalless draw earlier in the season.
Ten Hag understands that it will not be easy this Sunday, and he is also aware that the outcome will set the tone for the rest of the Premier League season.
Despite their progress this season, the obvious criticism of this United team is that they aren’t as impressive on the road as they are at home.
United has 30 points at home this season, but only 20 points on the road. This season, they have only taken one point away from home against Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool, with that point coming thanks to a dramatic equalizer at Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle must be included in the same category at the moment. They are seventh in home form and will provide an interesting test at the weekend.
United could finish third the following day, but they could also finish fifth due to their inferior goal difference compared to top-four rivals Tottenham and Newcastle.
If Spurs fail to win this weekend, they will have a chance to catch them when they play Everton on Monday night, while a loss at St. James’ Park will see the hosts leapfrog them as well.
Even in the worst-case scenario, they would be at least five points ahead of the chasing pack and have two games in hand on Tottenham, but it would certainly give the race for Champions League football new life.
United’s bid for a top-four finish has relied on consistency at a time when others have struggled to find it, and the message will remain the same as the season winds down.
It would still take a significant collapse for United to fall out of the top four, and they would have to rely on their competitors to exploit such a slump.
However, with United still involved in the FA Cup and the Europa League, while their rivals are only focused on the Premier League, there is a slight possibility that it could happen.
This weekend’s trip to the North East could truly set the tone for what lies ahead between now and summer, and help define the season’s overall success.