This question naturally has a mediocre response. Which away victory for Manchester United under Erik ten Hag is the best?
A season ago, a victory at Goodison Park via comeback? At Elland Road, victory? the triumph at Turf Moor early in the campaign, when the stakes were highest? The first featured Frank Lampard’s Everton team, which was in decline. Although Leeds used to play in the Championship, they are now consistently antagonistic. The team that plays there every week is the only one that has played at Turf Moor this season without a victory.
In terms of performance, it was maybe the previous season’s 3-0 Carabao Cup victory at Nottingham Forest. It was the late 2-1 victory at Fulham one year prior, based on league standings. Although this is mediocre opposition, there have been some successful nights in Spain in Europe, with 1-0 victories over Real Sociedad and Real Betis. Perhaps United’s best away day under Ten Hag was the 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp.
All of this is a roundabout way of arguing that, under the Dutchman, United hasn’t been particularly good away from home. Although they have won three straight away from home in the Premier League, Fulham has changed from the previous season, and Burnley and Sheffield United are headed back to the Championship.
Particularly bad is United’s record while playing the best teams or in environments that are unfriendly or challenging. Consider the Parken Stadium, Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Anfield, Etihad, and St. James’ Park. To be honest, they performed admirably in the final game, but they were still defeated. This season, they had a good start at Tottenham but lost. In Munich they had a good start but lost.
It’s difficult to pinpoint a road victory that really distinguishes this club, but if this season is to turn the wheel and perhaps succeed, one seems to have to happen in the next ten or so days.
Even though Everton is currently 19th in the Premier League, that ranking is fictitious due to their points deduction, and Goodison Park will be fuming with resentment this coming weekend after those 10 points were taken away from them. Going up against a squad that is not just out of form but also feeling betrayed will be challenging. It will be as straightforward as Sean Dyche’s team talk goes, and victory on Merseyside on Sunday would be an
Fans of Galatasaray don’t have to feel guilty to get loud and threatening during the Ali Sami Yen. This season, United has given up eight goals in two away Champions League games; yet, a victory in Istanbul is the only thing that matters. If they could pull it off, it would be an incredible victory considering the stakes and would maintain hopes of making it to the knockout rounds.
Their week on the road ends in the north east and a Saturday night in Newcastle. United were beaten here tamely last season and have already lost 3-0 to the Geordies at Old Trafford this season. But heading into this week it is Ten Hag’s side who are a place and a point higher in the Premier League.
United’s run of results has put them back in contention for the top four but to capitalise on that they need to start beating their rivals. A win against a Newcastle side depleted with injury would be a statement of intent, of that there is no doubt.
The Saturday night scheduling guarantees a raucous atmosphere, however, and Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain have both been beaten at St James’ Park so far this season.
Before the first away game of this season, Ten Hag called on his team to deliver more on the road.
“This is one of the aims we have for this season, that we have to step up in away games to get more points,” he said.
“[We want] to bring higher levels, because that is the foundation for, of course, more points.
“It’s often to do with personality. So yeah, that’s the demand from me on the players and that we have to show more personality on the pitch to win such games.
“And so to get more points in away games.”
This season has so far bought three wins and four defeats away from home, but arguably every game has fallen the way you would expect of this team. Getting just one away win next week would probably feel like a success, but that has to be the minimum requirement.