Manchester United’s indifferent form is interrupted by the second international break of the season.
It gives players and staff a chance to reset, and with a tough run of fixtures upcoming, United will need to use the time wisely to prepare.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position is coming under scrutiny in the media and fans are also frustrated with the team’s form.
How United perform over the next 10 matches could have a major bearing on Solskjaer’s future.
These matches include three Champions League games, with two against current group leaders Atalanta.
There is also a tricky trip to Villarreal in there too.
But the standout matches are the games against all five of the so-called Premier League ‘big six’, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal.
The away tie with Leicester looks just as tricky, with the Foxes knocking United out of the FA Cup last season in the last game at the King Power.
The only brief respite from intensity may come against Watford, yet on United’s last visit to Vicarage Road, the Hornets won the match 2-0.
United have 14 points so far from a possible 21, with Chelsea leading the table on 16.
At present it’s quite tight, but after this upcoming run of matches, we will see whether United really are title contenders and this was just a mini early season slump, or if the team are pretenders and need to ring the changes.
Solskjaer’s job could be influenced by Champions League qualification. Two games in, United are one point off the top. It is crucial to come out of this run in a good position.
United’s players will have to raise their games, but realistically we should expect a mix of wins, draws, and losses, over the next 10. Coming out of this run unbeaten would be more miraculous.
How many games would be acceptable to win? Well, United should realistically say seven wins should be a target from this 10. That should be achievable, but certainly not easy.
Matches against Leicester, Watford, Tottenham, Arsenal and Atalanta at home should be games United are expecting wins from, and then if the team split the others, that could take us to seven or eight.
Win anything like three games or less from this 10 and Solskjaer could be in trouble.