Man Utd’s squad depth unprepared for October challenge

Led by new manger Erik ten Hag, Manchester United are determined to restore their glory days at Old Trafford after five winless seasons.

Following an underwhelming start to his managerial tenure, the Dutchman has led the Red Devils to four morale-boosting Premier League wins in a row.

But his men slumped to an unexpected 1-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad last time out, suggesting this squad cannot effectively compete on multiple fronts.

It won’t get easy for them anytime soon, especially not beyond September.

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A highly congested schedule induced by the upcoming 2022 World Cup won’t have mercy for Man Utd as they are about to contest nine matches in October.

While ten Hag has plenty of options for a multitude of positions, not all of them can guarantee success when high-profile fixtures start coming thick and fast.

United’s new defensive pairing, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, have gone from strength to strength in the Premier League. Yet their understudies, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, have not fared so well.

The same goes for Diogo Dalot and Tyrell Malacia, who have delivered promising showings after kicking Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw out of the starting XI.

While ten Hag’s new full-backs continue to improve, their deputies are struggling for form and fitness, suggesting the Dutch manager can ill-afford to rotate his squad as often as he might have to.

However, things are looking far better in the engine room following Casemiro’s arrival from Real Madrid.

The Brazilian can swap places with Fred and Scott McTominay in the double-pivot, allowing Man Utd to field quality midfielders on multiple fronts.

On top of that, Christian Eriksen is no stranger to playing deep in the midfield, handing the Red Devils another top-class option in the middle of the park.

Man Utd are probably best stacked up top, with Antony, Anthony Elanga, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford competing for four starting berths.

After an inspiring pre-season, Martial has again found himself low in the pecking order, but that doesn’t mean he cannot deliver the goods in the Europa League.

Since Cypriot outfit Omonia and perennial Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol are unlikely to be a match for Man Utd in Europe’s second-tier competition, all eyes will be on the Premier League.

Inspired by an eye-catching run of four straight league victories, the Red Devils will face numerous daunting challenges in October, starting with the Manchester derby on October 2.

A potentially tricky trip to Everton and a home clash against Newcastle United will set the tone for United’s high-profile match-ups against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Ten Hag will need Ronaldo to rediscover his mojo for those mouth-watering clashes against London sides before they cap off a frantic October schedule at home to West Ham United.

While waiting for the Portugal captain to get off the mark, the Dutchman can be proud of his Antony, who has been a breath of fresh air since arriving in the club’s second most expensive transfer late in the summer.

It didn’t take long for the 22-year-old winger to go along with his new teammates, as witnessed by his breakthrough goal against Arsenal.

Antony has had an immediate impact, unlike Sancho, who continues to blow hot and cold. That’s very much like Rashford and Elanga, though the former looks to be hitting his stride following a tumultuous period.

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