Manchester United face a long wait between Premier League games and their next home assignment is the small matter of the Manchester derby.
The trip to the Etihad on Sunday 2 October will be their first league game in four weeks. This break is due to two matches, against Crystal Palace and Leeds, being postponed following the Queen’s death, as well as an international break scheduled for later this month.
When the match finally comes, United will at least have the chance to maintain their match sharpness with Europa League games and many players involved in international matches. However, these meetings with Real Sociedad and Sheriff Tiraspol are unlikely to be anywhere near the level of intensity of a game against Pep Guardiola’s men.
There is always an element of battle in the derby and if that is the case again, one United star in particular needs to watch out.
Scott McTominay has already been a regular name on the books of Premier League referees this season. The Scotland international has picked up four bookings in just six games so far. Premier League rules dictate that any player who receives five yellow cards before the 19th game of the season will receive a one-match ban. It means McTominay has 12 games to try to avoid a new booking if he is to avoid missing United’s next league game. He received nine yellow cards throughout last season.
Other United stars looking over their shoulders to keep an eye on the Matchweek 19 reset are Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot. Both defenders have three cautions so far.
The rules also state that a player who has accumulated 10 yellow cards by matchweek 32 will receive a two-match ban. A total of 15 yellow cards in a season means a three-game suspension.