The International break brings with it a chance to look back over the season so far and possibly gain insight into where the rest of the season will go for Manchester United.
At the moment a quick glance at the Premiership table shows that all is looking good for the red half of Manchester. Coincidentally it even shows the blue side of Manchester doing slightly better.
United, like their opponents, have played seven matches in the Premiership, four at home and three away. United have won six and drawn one, scoring twenty-one goals and conceding two. United are behind Manchester City on goal difference by one goal. An extra goal against Crystal Palace would have had United still second but only alphabetically.
United have made an excellent start on the European front where a similar story is unfolding. Played two, won two with seven goals for and one against with six points already in the bag.
United have also progressed to the next round of the EFL Cup with a fourth round tie away at Swansea City on the horizon.
Marouane Fellaini has silenced many of his critics, but not all, with his displays this season. Add to this the form of Ashley Young which over the last few games has been outstanding and the less popular players have come and delivered.
Romelu Lukaku is loving life at United and scoring the goals he was brought into the team to do. Whilst Nemanja Matić has left most supporters wondering why Chelsea sold him, and especially to one of their rivals with his sterling displays in midfield.
The form and displays of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and of course David de Gea has also been outstanding leaving the feeling that Jose Mourinho’s second season could not be going much better.
With all the positivism around the club at the moment, there has only been the odd negative to dampen the spirits. The injury to Paul Pogba is the most obvious one which will come to the mind for most fans. However, the non-appearance of Victor Lindelöf has been frustrating and while the form of Phil Jones has been good the sense that another injury could be just around the corner never really goes away.
After the International break, assuming there are no other injuries, United probably face a tougher schedule than they have had so far. Liverpool away, always a tasty fixture on October 14th is followed by three more away fixtures. Benfica in the Champions League, on the 18th, Huddersfield Town in the Premiership, on the 21st, and Swansea City away in the Carabao Cup on the 24th.
With Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in the Premiership and Benfica at Old Trafford on the 31st in the Champions League, October will prove a testing month for the entire squad. The fairly imminent inclusion to that squad of Zlatan Ibrahimović hopefully will add more options to the team rather than confuse it. There might also be possible arrivals in January but that option seems less likely.
Mourinho is shaping his team the way he wants it even if that means being more defensive (parking the bus) in some games especially away from home. It would not be too much of a surprise if this tactic was used at Liverpool too at least secure a point. What is different from last season is that United are beating the middle order teams who took points off them especially at Old Trafford and that for the moment is a sign of maturity under Mourinho.