Manchester United prepare for an important few weeks ahead as the chase for silverware gets a little bit more significant with some key fixtures coming thick and fast as the busy Christmas period looms.

As well as the matter of playing catch-up with Manchester City’s irrepressible Galacticos, the Red Devils are participating in the advanced stages of the Carling Cup and the small matter of completing qualification for the knock-out stages for the UEFA Champions League still needs to be done.

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Manchester United v Crystal Palace

The English champions entertain the Eagles at Old Trafford on Wednesday 30th November as a League Cup semi-final beckons for the victors. The home team will be strong favourites to progress in the competition but the visitors will ensure that it won’t be a dead rubber and in fact a keenly-contested affair.

With United expected to make several changes and demote several stars such as Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic from the match day squad, the Londoners will fancy their chances at Old Trafford. It has been several years since either side met after Palace’s relegation from the top flight several seasons ago and this will only increase their appetite all the more as they make a rare visit to the home of the top team in the country.

Despite the gulf in class with each club’s respective squad, it will certainly be a feisty clash between both sets of players as the stakes are high and the rewards even higher for the eventual winner.

Wednesday, 30th November 7:45pm on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2.

Basel v Manchester United

Seven days after that Carling Cup encounter, United face a crucial game against the Swiss champions as the winner on the night will be advancing towards the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League.

So far, the English club have struggled badly with performances and results in the group phase and this is reflected through their lackluster displays in two wins and three draws so far. Heiko Vogel’s team gave the Manchester side a massive scare at Old Trafford when the hosts had to made do with a 3-3 draw thanks to a late equaliser from Ashley Young.

With United on 9 points and Basel peering over their shoulders on 8 points, it is certain to be an intense game which the home supporters will be up for big time.

Wednesday, 7th December 7:45pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1.

QPR v Manchester United

QPR have had a mixed season with hammerings from Bolton and Fulham to beating Chelsea and narrowly losing to league leaders Manchester City 3-2. They have all the reasons to be all fired up for the reigning champions, Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping that his men will not lose more ground on their local rivals. Picking up all three points is the only way if they want to test Roberto Mancini’s men.

United’s eagerness to win can produce an open game if Neil Warnock decides to take it to the 19 time champions. They currently hold the 9th spot on the table, level on points with 8th spot Aston Villa. If United is to drop points at Loftus Road, the gap between them and City will widen.

Historically speaking, Man Utd has dominated QPR both home and away with a record of 23W-10D-6L. The two teams last faced each other in the Carling Cup in 2008, where Carlos Tevez scored the only goal of the game.

Sunday, 18th December 12:00pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1.

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