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Assessing the difficulty of Manchester United’s start to the season

by Conner Botterill

Manchester United’s punishing home defeat to Brighton at the weekend has left Erik ten Hag’s men with just six points from their opening five Premier League games.

The humbling loss also ended United’s impressive domestic home record, handing them their first defeat since the opening day of last season – which also came against Brighton.

The lacklustre start has left United playing catch up already and Ten Hag is in dire need of an upturn in fortunes.

However, Givemesport has assessed the difficulty of United’s opening fixtures and it offers a little solace to Ten Hag’s stuttering side.

Opta has ranked each team’s start to the season in order of difficulty with regards to fixtures and United are deemed to have had the fourth hardest opening to the campaign among the top flight sides.

United’s away fixtures looked particularly tricky on paper when the schedule was announced and so it has proved.

Back-to-back defeats in the capital against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal respectively, have left United still without a point on the road.

The weekend loss to Brighton underlined the Seagulls’ credentials as one of the best sides in the division.

To make matters worse, United’s wins came from unconvincing displays against Wolves and Nottingham Forest which could easily have gone the other way.

Given United’s excellent home form since Ten Hag took the reins, the recent Brighton loss is the one that United would have been expected to avoid – now putting the boss under huge pressure.

However, the difficult start now makes way for some winnable looking games and United will be desperate to get some points on the road at Burnley this coming Saturday.

Then comes back-to-back home games against Crystal Palace and Brentford before a trip to Sheffield United and Ten Hag will be looking for maximum points from the four games.

United will hope to be in a much better place points-wise when the entertain Manchester City after their trip to Sheffield, which rounds off the fixtures up to November.

There is also the small matter of the Champions League which could disturb United’s flow but also offer the team a chance to get some confidence back in their game.

United’s next fixture is the mouthwatering trip to Munich as they kick off their return to Europe’s top table against German giants Bayern on Wednesday evening.

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