Premier League fixture congestion: When will Manchester United fulfil games after failing to reach Europa League last 16? | Football News

Manchester United failing to win their Europa League group presents a major issue for the club – and the Premier League – as they look to rearrange the two matches which were postponed following the death of the Queen.

United currently only have one fixture-free weekend or midweek slot between Christmas and the end of the season, but two league games that need to be rearranged against Crystal Palace and Leeds.

It raises the possibility of Erik ten Hag’s squad having to play two midweek matches in one week at some point later in the congested fixture calendar.

When is the Europa League play-off draw?

The draw will be held at 12pm on Monday November 7, at the House of European Football at UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland.

United failing to score one extra goal in Spain against Real Sociedad leaves them second in their group, and now means they will be required to play two knockout games in the New Year against a team dropping out of the Champions League.

Those UEFA games are scheduled for February 14 and 28 – tying up two of United’s three available midweek fixture slots before April.

Man Utd finished second to Real Sociedad
Man Utd finished second to Real Sociedad

After the World Cup, Manchester United will play a midweek and weekend game every single week, except for ONE vacant midweek slot – on February 4.

But United have two postponed Premier League matches that need to played.

Sky Sports News understands there will be no quick decision taken by the Premier League when it comes to Manchester United’s fixtures because, were they to be knocked out in the early stages of the FA Cup, for example, more midweek slots may become available.

While the winter World Cup in Qatar has caused major issues to the domestic football calendar, this is not a new problem for the Premier League, which managed to stage all matches in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, despite the unique challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.

2022/23 European football midweek calendar

Harry Maguire was used as an emergency striker
Harry Maguire was used as an emergency striker

January 10 – Carabao Cup quarter-finals

January 17 – FA Cup third round replays

January 24 – Carabao Cup semi-final first leg

January 31 – Carabao Cup semi-final second leg

February 14 – European competition knockouts

February 21 – European competition knockouts

February 28 – FA Cup fifth round

March 7 – European competition last 16

March 14 – European competition last 16

March 21 – International break

March 28 – International break

April 4 – Vacant midweek

April 11 – European competition quarter-finals

April 18 – European competition quarter-finals

April 25 – Premier League fixtures

May 2 – Vacant midweek

May 9 – European competition semi-finals

May 16 – European competition semi-finals

May 23 – Vacant midweek

Which other clubs could be affected?

Cristian Romero confronts Kai Havertz during Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Chelsea
Chelsea and Spurs could also face a fixture pile up

With Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool all through to the last 16 of the Champions League, the Premier League could also face difficulty in finding a slot for two other postponed fixtures to be rescheduled.

Chelsea vs Liverpool and Manchester City vs Tottenham must be rearranged, but there will be no vacant midweek for these games to take place unless all four clubs’ last-16 Champions League matches are scheduled for the same midweek.

Who will be in the play-off draw?

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Despite winning 1-0 at Real Sociedad, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag would like more forward options after finishing second in their Europa League group.

Europa League second-placed sides, seeded

  • Manchester United
  • Midtjylland
  • Nantes
  • Monaco
  • PSV Eindhoven
  • Rennes
  • Roma
  • 1. FC Union Berlin

Champions League third-placed sides, unseeded

  • Ajax
  • Barcelona
  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • Juventus
  • RB Salzburg
  • Sevilla
  • Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Sporting Lisbon

When will the games be played?

The first legs of the last play-off round will be played on February 16, 2023, before the return legs a week later.

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