Things went wrong for Manchester United against Manchester City a week and a half ago, and they have gotten progressively worse since.
Defeat to Feyenoord in the Europa League was followed by a third straight loss at the weekend, this time at the hands of Watford.
All the positivity garnered by winning the first three Premier League games has been wiped out, as doubt has crept back into the minds of United fans.
Of late, the performances have been eerily reminiscent of the David Moyes and Louis van Gaal eras. The Red Devils have shown the kind of lack of organisation that plagued Moyes’s reign, while the football has been as uninspiring as the drab displays produced under van Gaal.
The question of whether Wayne Rooney should continue to be selected has been brought back up — if it ever really went away -- but United’s problems run deeper than the issue to the captain’s inclusion.
Improvement is needed, and fast. And an EFL Cup tie against League One side Northampton Town provides José Mourinho’s men with the chance to rediscover how to win games.
But United fans will have the spectre of 2014’s humiliating 4-0 loss to the Milton Keynes Dons peering at them from the recesses of their minds; losing to Northampton is unthinkable, right?
Mourinho will likely field an under-strength line-up, but he must be careful not to over-rotate and risk a fourth defeat in two weeks. This one is eminently winnable for United; let’s hope they don’t screw it up.
HOW TO WATCH
When: 19:45 UK time, 14:45 Eastern, 11:45 Pacific
Where: Sixfields, Northampton
Television: Sky Sports 1 in the UK, beIN Sports in the USA; for the rest of the world, livesoccertv has you covered
Streaming: The Sky Go App the UK,
This will also be our Live Thread for the game, so share your thoughts on the derby in the comments section.