Make no mistake about it, Manchester United have appointed Jose Mourinho to win them the Premier League title.
The Red Devils have spent three years in the wilderness since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, qualifying for the Champions League only once and finishing as lowly as seventh place under the Scot’s immediate successor David Moyes.
The Portuguese, who has lifted the English title three times before, will be handed an enormous transfer budget for the summer to get the Red Devils back on track. But money doesn’t always translate into success, especially in the ever-chaotic realm of the Premier League.
Giving us an insight into United’s chances under Mourinho, however, is the official fixture list for the 2016/17 Premier League season, which was released online just moments ago.
With that in mind, here are the FIVE fixtures that could determine whether Mourinho’s first season at Old Trafford ends in triumph or disappointment.
It’s the Guardiola vs Mourinho rematch but this time with the backdrop of the Manchester rivalry. United got the better of City last season and although that may be a much tougher task next term, they need to hold their own at Old Trafford.
United did the double over Liverpool in the Premier League last season and need to maintain that dominance, especially with the Reds on the rise under Jurgen Klopp. Claiming a good result at Anfield could well be the difference between United challenging for the title or simply a top four finish.
The world is itching to discover what will happen when Jose Mourinho faces the club he won three Premier League titles with and left in disgrace last December. Likewise, Chelsea will likely be competing at the top of the table once again next season, so beating them is vital to United’s title chances.
Jose Mourinho’s record against Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is so dominant it borders upon genocide. Transitioning that over to his United tenure will be a huge boost to the club’s title ambitions, especially if they can claim points against the Gunners away from home.
Spurs are likely to be involved in the Champions League race at the very least next season, so their meeting with Manchester United on the penultimate weekend of the campaign could be a make-or-break affair for both clubs. Likewise, United’s dominance of Spurs has worrying declined in recent seasons, winning just two of their last seven against the north Londoners.