Manchester United fell 1-0 to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday night, a result that extended their nightmare run of just one win in eight matches in all competitions. The pressure that was there on manager José Mourinho appears to have subsided in recent weeks, mostly thanks to his team’s performances and encouraging results against Newcastle United (3-2 win) and Chelsea (2-2 draw) prior to the Juve match. All that could change again though, with a number of tough fixtures coming up in the next month.
Here is how we think things are likely to unfold for Mourinho and his side in their next five matches.
Home v Everton (Premier League)
There are never easy games in the Premier League, but United will probably fancy their chances against Everton after showing at least some fighting spirit in spells against Chelsea and Juventus. Everton have been a bit inconsistent themselves, although they have managed to win their last two games. They will also be fresh for the match on Sunday, as they have no European commitments in the middle of the week.
Everton will be after three points at Old Trafford, but the home advantage should count in United’s favour.
Prediction: United 2-1 Everton
Away v Bournemouth (Premier League)
Things will not get any easier for United, with a trip to face the high-flying Bournemouth up next. They will at least have enough time to prepare for that, as they were eliminated out of the Carabao Cup and therefore won’t participate in the competition next week.
If things don’t improve drastically in the next fortnight, this could be yet another disappointment for the Old Trafford club.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 United
Away v Juventus (Champions League)
Juventus looked like the home team for most of the match at Old Trafford and it will take a huge turnaround for United to take anything from the return leg in Turin. Also counting against Mourinho’s men could be the potential return of Mario Mandžukić, who missed the game on Tuesday. The big Croatian could cause even more problems for a shaky United defence and provide more room for Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala to wreak havoc.
Prediction: Juventus 2-0 United
Away v Manchester City (Premier League)
In what is perhaps the least ideal fixture for the Mancunians, they will have to face their city rivals at the Etihad four days later. Mourinho has proven that he can rouse his side to the occasion in these big matches. This was demonstrated in this fixture last season; when the Red Devils came from two down to secure a memorable 3-2 win. The Portuguese will undoubtedly have a plan to stifle City, but Pep Guardiola’s team is in such great form once again this season that it is difficult to see a United win.
Prediction: City 1-1 United
Home v Crystal Palace (Premier League)
After a very hard run, the chance to pause and breathe will come in the form of an international break mid-November, before a winnable fixture against Crystal Palace thereafter. United’s results and subsequent position starting with that game against the Eagles and through December will in all likelihood determine the immediate future of Mourinho. Should Palace snatch a point or three, Champions League qualification will begin to slip entirely from his team’s grip and that could be the final nail on the coffin. That means that the game could be make-or-break.
Prediction: United 3-0 Palace
These results would leave United with just 22 points in the Premier League after 13 matches and definitely out of the title race. They might also find themselves third in their Champions League group, if Valencia manage to beat Young Boys in Spain.