Manchester United made the worst possible start to a hectic October schedule on Sunday, losing 6-3 to cross-city rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
United, who made the short hop across the city on a run of four consecutive Premier League victories, were blown away by Pep Guardiola's side, who were inspired by hat-tricks from Phil Foden and Erling Haaland. The Reds were 4-0 down by half-time and were 6-1 behind by the time substitute Anthony Martial scored twice to put a slightly more respectable look on the scoreline at full time.
Fortunately for Erik ten Hag and his players, they have the opportunity to try and get Sunday's horror show out of their systems quickly, starting with Thursday night's Europa League clash with Omonia Nicosia. The meeting with the Cypriot outfit will mark just United's second game in the space of 29 days this month, highlighting the toll October is set to take.
A mixture of Premier League and Europa League fixtures are going to push United's squad to the very maximum of their capabilities, with turnaround times looking incredibly short. Putting the Europa League to one side, for now, MEN Sport has taken a close look at United's next six league fixtures, five of which come before the end of this month, and compared them with those of their fellow expected top-four challengers.
While the importance of getting a respectable haul of points from those two games against their traditional 'big six' rivals cannot be underestimated, it is in the clashes with the likes of Everton and Aston Villa where the Reds will be under pressure to scoop maximum points. United must do all they can to continue attempting to turn Old Trafford into a fortress as well.
*All fixtures are subject to change.