Queen Elizabeth II: Manchester United facing major fixture pile-up amid likely postponements
The World Cup begins on November 20 but before then United have another five Europa League games as well as a glut of Premier League fixtures to try and squeeze in.
Erik ten Hag’s side face a potentially manic October and November period.
It remains to be seen if this weekend’s Premier League fixtures are fulfilled, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
But the expectation is that Manchester United’s trip to Crystal Palace, along with the other nine top flight games pencilled in for this coming weekend, will be postponed as a mark of respect.
There is even the possibility that the following weekend’s games — where United are scheduled to welcome Leeds to Old Trafford — could be shelved as the nation continues to comes to terms with the passing of its longest-ever serving monarch. There’s even a chance that next week’s Europa League game against Sheriff may be called off, too.
If that is the case, it means United would next return to action in almost a month’s time, as the weekend of September 23 and 24 is a planned international break. That return to action comes in the form of a Manchester derby at the Etihad on October 2.
It all adds up to a potentially hectic October and November for Erik ten Hag’s side. Add in the first-ever winter World Cup, which begins on November 20, and there is a huge glut of fixtures to try and shoehorn in before then.
United are already down to play nine fixtures in October alone: six Premier League dates and three Europa League assignments. That leaves no wiggle room for the aforementioned games that may well need to be re-arranged. While the league matches do not need to be played before the World Cup, the expectation is that all Europa League group games will have to be completed before the extravaganza in Qatar gets under way.
At present November sees United playing four games and once again there is no space in the schedule to squeeze more games in, given they play their final Premier League game before the World Cup-enforced hiatus begins on November 12. The only logical option to fit in the Europa League tie away at Sheriff is if it is played in place of the EFL Cup third round clash with Aston Villa, which is currently set for Tuesday, November 8.