Man United’s next four fixtures could decide Ten Hag’s fate

The Red Devils have been struggling to find consistency in form

December 10, 2023
Erik Ten Hag has the tough task of preparing his side to take on four in-form teams in the next 16 days. — AFP

Manchester United have been struggling to find a consistent run of form in the ongoing 2023/24 season and the problems are growing for head coach Erik Ten Hag as the crucial UEFA Champions League (UCL) encounter against Bayern Munich nears.

The Red Devils lost to Bournemouth for the first time at Old Trafford as they were handed a three-goal defeat in a Premier League (PL) encounter on Saturday.

Man United now sit on the sixth position in the PL with 27 out of a possible 48 points in 16 matches and they could be demoted to seventh if Newcastle United beat Tottenham on Sunday.

Not just that, the three-time UCL winners are also on the verge of being knocked out of the group stage for the second consecutive season, as the last time they played the UCL knockouts was in the 2021/22 season.

Pressure is increasing and answers will be asked from Ten Hag who spent around €200m during the transfer window where he was given the players he asked for; Rasmus Hojlund, Mason Mount, Andre Onana, Sofyan Amrabat, and more.

Man United’s next four fixtures are tough and could, possibly, decide the Dutchman’s future with the club.

December 12: Bayern Munich at Old Trafford in UCL

United’s qualification chances in the round of 16 stage are already on thin ice as not only do they need to beat Bayern Munich, but also a draw between Copenhagen and Galatasary is required for their journey to the knockouts of the European championship, which, at the moment, considering their form, seems difficult, not impossible though.

December 17: Liverpool at Anfield in PL

Ten Hag’s last trip to Anfield ended in the club’s biggest defeat in PL history where they were humiliated and battered by Jurgen Klopp’s men by a whopping 7-0 scoreline. Not just that, they have not tasted win since 2016 at Liverpool’s fortress, and The Reds, who climbed to the top of the league on Saturday night, would surely be willing to repeat what happened on March 5, 2023.

December 23: West Ham at London Stadium in PL

While this may seem like an easy visit, this will not be. Man United’s last win at the London Stadium came in September 2021 when goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesse Lingard cruised the Red Devils to win. Ten Hag’s last meeting with the former United boss, David Moyes, at the latter’s home ended in a 1-0 defeat. Will the history repeat itself?

December 26: Aston Villa at Old Trafford in PL

Boxing Day promises entertainment and that should also be expected when Unai Emery’s charged troops take on Man United. By beating Manchester City and Arsenal this season, Aston Villa have already proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. They are third in the league, and could very well take advantage of United’s woeful form at Old Trafford where they have already been beaten three times in the PL this season.

The next 16 days are crucial for the 20-time PL winners, they may likely be in the market searching for a new boss by the end of the year if things don’t go their way.

Wasay Qayyum is a sports journalist at Geo Super.