Manchester United fans are worried about their chances of winning the Carabao Cup this season after comparing their upcoming fixtures to likely final opponents Newcastle United.
Marcus Rashford and Wout Weghorst scored in the first half before Bruno Fernandes added a third late on at the City Ground.
Unless they collapse at Old Trafford next Wednesday, the Red Devils are heading for a showdown against one of Newcastle or Southampton. Newcastle, who are third in the Premier League, are leading that tie 1-0 and are favourites to progress.
Since returning to action following the World Cup break, Erik ten Hag’s side have played an astonishing 10 games in three competitions.
Things are only going to get more congested over the next month. A full breakdown of United’s hectic schedule in January and February compared to Newcastle’s makes for interesting reading.
Eddie Howe’s men will only be involved in four games, three in the Premier League and their Carabao Cup semi-final return leg against Southampton. They were eliminated from the FA Cup by League One outfit Sheffield Wednesday earlier this month in the third round, making that competition a non-factor.
United players celebrate with Rashford against Nottingham Forest. (Image Credit: Alamy)United, on the other hand, will face Championship side Reading on Saturday before attempting to finish the job against Forest the following Wednesday. They then face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on February 4 and Leeds United in a re-arranged fixture on February 8. Four days later, United travel to Elland Road to take on their bitter rivals once again.
On February 16, it’s the small matter of La Liga giants Barcelona in the Europa League at Old Trafford. They travel to Catalonia on February 23 for the second leg, three days before the Carabao Cup final. There’s a game with Leicester City sandwiched in between that too.
If you think that’s hard to get your head around, think about how the players must feel. Supporters on Reddit are seriously concerned by the lack of rest they’ll be able to get in before the biggest game of Ten Hag’s reign so far.
The fixture lists in full. (Image Credit: u/HarrBathtub/Reddit)One person said: “It’s criminal how congested the schedule has become.”
Another put: “Twice as many games, nice.”
Someone commented: “This could be a determining factor in winning an actual trophy this year. We saw against Arsenal the difference a couple of extra days rest means. In a month it will be even more important.”
While a fourth added: “What a joke.”
United haven’t won a trophy since 2017. Jose Mourinho won the Carabao Cup and Europa League during his first season in charge. Since then, United have lost the 2018 FA Cup final under Mourinho and the 2021 Europa League final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.