The games having been coming thick and fast for Manchester United this season as they have excelled in the cup competitions, and all of those matches bring injuries.
Marcus Rashford was the headline absentee from the Europa League quarter-final first leg against Sevilla, which eventually finished 2-2, but they were also missing Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Alejandro Garnacho, having only just welcomed Christian Eriksen back into the fold.
This could be a major factor over the next few weeks as United look to secure a place in the top four while also grabbing another trophy or two. The FA Cup and the Europa League are still up for grabs but both could evade United’s grasp this next set of games.
Here are the teams Erik ten Hag and his squad will be facing over the next few weeks.
We’re at the stage of the season where, as the old cliche goes, you don’t want to be going away to teams that are desperately scrapping to stay in the Premier League. This season, though, that tag applies to the bottom eight or so teams in the division.
Forest certainly fall into that category and it will take a pretty professional job from Ten Hag’s side to ensure they get out with three points and minimal fuss. They have beaten Forest three times already this season, but they will be without Rashford here.
It is very hard to know what sort of performance you are going to get from this Sevilla team right now. In La Liga, they have actually been worse at home. They are 16th in Spain’s home form table having only won five times at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium.
After throwing away a 2-0 lead at home after the tie appeared to be dead and buried, the main objective for Ten Hag, like away at Forest a few days before, will be to secure a victory and head back to Manchester without any fresh injuries or suspensions.
There has been a lack of clarity so far on when Rashford is going to be back for United, but this has to be the game he is aiming for.
Ten Hag said during his press conference ahead of the Sevilla first leg: “It’s a few games [which he will miss]. I can’t give more details because we have to see how the injury develops.”
That statement is very much open to interpretation but it seems the absolute earliest he could return would be this match, having potentially missed both Sevilla matches and the Brighton game. That could still be a push though and the form of Anthony Martial in the meantime could decide whether Rashford is risked against the Seagulls.
The upcoming Premier League games could be the reason why Ten Hag does not risk Rashford against Brighton. This match away at Spurs will go a huge way to determining which of the two sides qualifies for the Champions League.
It could be both of them, but that would require favours from elsewhere. Whoever wins this game will be given a huge boost and with United‘s worrisome away form this season, they will have their work cut out.
It remains to be seen what sort of form Aston Villa will be in when this game comes around but Unai Emery has certainly had a superb effect on the team. United won’t be looking forward to this one, especially given Villa abruptly halted United’s first good run of form under Ten Hag earlier this season with a 3-1 win at Villa Park.
It could be a pretty attritional game at Old Trafford with both teams trying to grab European places of a different variety.
Soon after their FA Cup semi-final meeting, one of these two teams will be on the hunt for both revenge and a place in the Champions League or Europa League.
Assuming neither side suffers a terrible drop in form between now and this fixture, they will both be in a position where every game is absolutely crucial. There will be a good atmosphere at the AMEX with Brighton fans knowing they have enjoyed a couple of victories there over United in recent years.
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