Manchester United's 3-1 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night was a microcosm of their season: an upturn in results met with disappointment.
Two goals from Neymar and a close-range strike by Marquinhos saw United blow the chance to secure qualification for the last 16 stage with a game to spare.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side only needed a point but failed in their task. They now must avoid defeat at RB Leipzig on Tuesday - in what is one of three huge games for the club over the next eight days.
The trip to Germany is sandwiched by a visit to high-flying West Ham United on Saturday before the small matter of a Manchester derby against 'noisy neighbours' Manchester City on December 12 - both in the Premier League.
With such a pivotal week in the season coming up, Solskjaer has a lot of things to consider.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Man United threw away a chance to qualify for the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday
Neymar scored twice for Paris Saint-Germain as they won 3-1 at Old Trafford in Group H
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has plenty to ponder ahead of a crucial week for Manchester United
Anthony Martial was Manchester United's top goalscorer last season but he has looked a shadow of himself so far this campaign.
Against PSG on Wednesday night, the France international wasted two glorious chances to put United ahead. The first was a horrendous miss, after a brilliant counter-attack, when he blazed over the crossbar with the goal gaping. The second saw his goalbound effort blocked by a brilliant Marquinhos tackle.
The 24-year-old's inconsistencies have led to many believing he isn't good enough to be United's main No 9 in the past and Wednesday's finishing will add to that. The impact of Edinson Cavani adds weight to the argument as he has provided the Red Devils with a reference point up front that they've lacked for some time.
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Anthony Martial was wasteful once more in front of goal for the Red Devils as they lost to PSG
The Frenchman missed a glorious chance to put United ahead, but ballooned his shot over
Martial netted 23 goals last term but has only scored twice so far with both coming in the Champions League against Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir - the latter being a fine header to halve the deficit.
A three-match ban, following his red card against Tottenham, hasn't helped the Frenchman's cause but he hasn't reached previous standards set.
Martial is capable of scoring the spectacular and going on a goalscoring run. With Cavani excelling up front, he needs to rediscover his form of 2019-20 in a crucial week for the club.
Edinson Cavani (right) has provided an attacking reference point that United have missed
Wednesday wasn't just a night to forget for Anthony Martial, but also team-mate Fred.
The Brazilian midfielder was sent off for two bookable offences during the Red Devils' defeat. In truth, it's a miracle he somehow survived on the pitch until the 70th minute as he was fortunate not to be sent off in the first half after butting heads with PSG's Leandro Paredes.
However, his second-half dismissal now means he will miss United's Group H showdown against Leipzig.
Solskjaer will be without Fred for the Champions League trip to Leipzig after he was sent off
Fred saw a second yellow card for this challenge on former United team-mate Ander Herrera
Earlier video replays showed Fred headbutting PSG's Leandro Paredes in Wednesday's clash
Paredes goes down clutching his face, but Fred avoided a sending off despite a VAR referral
The German outfit are high-pressing team and Fred's energy will be sorely missed in the middle of the pitch for this game. He was part of a diamond midfield in the 5-0 win against them in the reverse fixture on October 28. His absence will now force Solskjaer to tinker any potential plans to revert back to that formation.
Waiting in the wings though are Scott McTominay and talisman Bruno Fernandes though. Neither started in the October victory. Fernandes, injury permitting, is a given to start and McTominay started in the PSG defeat too. If Solskjaer wants to adopt a diamond again for that game then Donny van de Beek can drop deeper allowing Fernandes to play at the tip of it with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, who both started against Leipzig, reprising their roles.