Solskjaer gets dream start for Premier League 2021-22

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United have a favourable start to the new Premier League campaign before the autumn brings a real test of their title credentials.

A blood and thunderer meeting with bitter rivals Leeds United at Old Trafford will jolt them into the new campaign before visits to Southampton and Wolves.

Solskjaer just cannot afford a slow start like last season when they suffered the effects of virtually no pre-season because their task gets a whole lot more difficult in October and November.

A visit to Leicester on October 16 begins a nightmare run of fixtures against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in quick succession.

It is only after that point we will truly know whether United can keep up the pace in the title race. It also comes as they play out the group stage of the Champions League.

The festive fixture list is favourable and so is the run-in for the most part. But March and April brings another cluster of blockbuster clashes with top six rivals.

United head to the Etihad to face City on March 5 followed by Tottenham at home, Liverpool away and Leicester at home.

There is a visit to Arsenal on April 23 and a home game with Chelsea on May 15 but otherwise meetings with Norwich, Brentford, Brighton and Crystal Palace constitute a pretty good finish to the season.

With a few summer additions in the transfer market, Solskjaer will hope United will be towards the top of the table and challenging with City, Liverpool and Chelsea at that point.

But the pressure will undoubtedly mount on Solskjaer, regardless of the gradual progress made in the past two years, if that horror run in the autumn knocks them out of contention.

United's performance in the Champions League will also be a factor and they'll hope for a kinder draw than the one that pitted them against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in the group stages last season.

After the bitter disappointment of losing to Villarreal in the Europa League final last season, Solskjaer knows the pressure to deliver a trophy has only increased.

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