Sky Sports reports that Manchester United’s preparation for the new season may start three weeks before their Premier League rivals. Because the Red Devils finished in sixth place that means that they may have to play their first competitive game by July 25th.
The scenario goes like this: If Manchester City wins on Saturday against Watford in the FA Cup that will prevent us from playing on July 25th. Now if Watford can defeat Manchester City at Wembley, then it will leave United in the final lowest European qualification place for English teams – currently occupied by Wolves, who will drop out of the competition altogether.
The Red Devils would then enter the Europa League at the second qualifying round stage, where they will be seeded and get a draw in their favour. They would then face teams like Irish side Shamrock Rovers or Tobol, who finished third in the Kazakhstan top flight. So if Manchester City do win the cup, things would be a little easier for United.
If Watford win the FA Cup, they will enter at the group stages like Arsenal, with Manchester United plunged into the second qualifying round in July. Wolves would be left empty-handed.
But if Manchester City wins, United will also start their European campaign in the group stages in September, with Wolves entering in the qualifying stages.
If United or Wolves are to then reach the Europa League groups, they will need to play six games to even reach that stage.
The return leg of the second qualifying round is on August 1, before a double header in the third qualifying round on August 8 and 15, and another in the play-off round on August 22 and 29.
I believe that Manchester City will win at Wembley unless a miracle happens for Watford. I really don’t care at this point because we finished in 6th place anyway. That’s an unacceptable position for us, but now we should try to see if we can win the Europa League competition next season. At least it would be good compensation for us after finishing in the Europa League places instead of the Champions League places.