Fixtures are already coming thick and fast for United as Solskjær’s side entertained local Lancashire neighbours Burnley in a surprise, behind-closed-doors friendly fixture at Old Trafford on Tuesday afternoon.
Bouncing on quickly from their 5-1 opening day demolition of Leeds United, the Manchester Evening News reported on the recent friendly in which recent signing and new United starlet Jadon Sancho played a significant role.
Another name in the startling lineup included fellow United new boy Tom Heaton, who started for the Reds in goal, although it is understood Raphael Varane will take further time to bed in, having only made a first appearance in training this Monday.
United’s next test in the league will see the Reds travel to the south coast for a match against last season’s Premier League survivors Southampton. The reverse fixture last season at Old Trafford saw Solskjær’s side bag a flurry of goals in a nine nil demolition of the Saints.
Southampton proved to be made of sterner stuff earlier in the season with the Reds having to force a late comeback courtesy of a late Edinson Cavani double hit in the dying minutes of the match. Regardless, United’s strong start at home to Leeds has the majority of betting sites in Nigeria and further afield backing United to continue bursting ahead in fine form.
Although United’s Norwegian manager will be the first to admit you can take no team lightly in this league, the remainder of United’s domestic fixtures across August and September will all feature against teams that finished in the bottom half of the table last season, the only exception being that of West Ham.
Following the trip to the south coast, United will then travel to the Midlands for a match against Wolves. Last season’s outings saw the Reds claim victory on both occasions after a short period where the Wanderers looked fixed firmly to become United’s bogey team.
A return to Old Trafford against Newcastle and Aston Villa in September is sandwiched between a trip to the capital to face former United manager David Moyes. After it looked like the jury was out on the Scotsman’s time in East London, Moyes was able to guide the Hammers to an impressive and welcome return to European football.
West Ham are likely to be United’s toughest test in this respect in September, although Newcastle’s stellar comeback on home turf in their season opener at the expense of West Ham could very well muddy the waters in this respect.
Domestic duties aside Solskjær and co. will keep a keen eye on the Champions League draw, due to take place on the 26 August, with the opening group stage matches on 14 and 15 September respectively.
So far a total of 26 teams have qualified for this year’s Champions League, with a further 12 clubs currently slugging it out in the final qualifying play-offs, hoping to qualify for the highly sought after and lucrative group stage of the competition.
United achieved automatic qualification for the group stage of the Champions League after finishing second in the league and are joined by English counterparts Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.
United are currently placed into Pot 2 ahead of the draw at the end of August. As it stands the Reds could be matched into a group with a variety of European heavyweights, featuring the likes of Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus or Borussia Dortmund.
United will be hoping to continue in the same burst of form that saw a bewildered Leeds side capitulate so readily as they fire forward into August and September. A strong start to a Premier League season has so far evaded Solskjær in his time as manager, but with an already bolstered squad their chances are looking better than ever.
With European football not so far in the future, a steady stream of positive results against teams United are backed to beat is a must to kick start United’s new campaign.