After the international break, Man Utd will resume play on Saturday, but they need a strong month to prepare for the upcoming break in October.
Manchester United, the early leaders of the Premier League, traveled to Switzerland on their return to the Champions League two years ago on this day. The world at Old Trafford was perfect.
United earned four wins and 10 points after scoring 11 goals. Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed a victorious homecoming three days prior, scoring twice in the 4-1 victory over Newcastle. With the participation of recent additions Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, a title push didn’t seem so unlikely.
We had no idea that the season had peaked when Ronaldo scored in Bern after just 13 minutes. Later in the half, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was dismissed, Young Boys stole the victory in the waning seconds, and United’s season quickly came tumbling down. Following those initial four games, they would play 45 more across all competitions, winning only 16 and losing 15.
It was truly United’s worst year ever. Ralf Rangnick was a lost cause, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired, and the relationship between players and fans broke down.
However, some pessimistic United fans have already started to feel that way this year, as though 2023/2024 has simply instructed 2021/22 to hold its beer. It’s safe to say that this month has been quite terrible.
By the beginning of August, the summer had been off to such a great start with the addition of three significant players, but United’s off-field struggles since then have been stranger than fiction. Most of it was self-inflicted, but the club has been harmed by the crises involving Mason Greenwood, Antony, and Jadon Sancho.
The football hasn’t been playing well on the field either. There have been two victories, two losses, and the impression that things aren’t exactly working just now. In addition, there is a situation with injuries in the building, and Lisandro Martinez’s health will be an issue when he comes to Carrington.
However, those worries that this season can run off the rails like it did two years ago disregard one glaring difference: who is the man in the dugout. Although Solskjaer was fortunate to be employed by United, he lacked the expertise to help the team through a crisis. In order to steady the ship, Erik ten Hag has traveled the voyage to Old Trafford before.
This was the turning point for Solskjaer two years prior. The season had really begun nicely, but things quickly fell apart. Between the September and October international breaks, there were just two victories in six games, and the first three games following that week had losses of 4-2 at Leicester City and 5-0 at Liverpool.
See the games at Brentford, Manchester City, and Liverpool from the previous season to see that Ten Hag hasn’t been exempt from United’s disastrous afternoons. But right now, all they need to do is right the ship and get things moving again.