The race to finish in the Premier League top four, thus securing a Champions League place in the process, is hotting up.
Right now, Manchester United find themselves in fifth position with a game in hand over Chelsea who is two points in front. However, Arsenal sits one point behind with a game in hand over the Red Devils.
It’s a complicated situation. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has worked wonders. We have to give him the credit he deserves because at the time of him taking charge, United finishing in the top four looked nigh-on impossible. At least now we have a chance, albeit we’re still the underdogs.
With five games remaining, we thought it fitting to take a look at each and every game while trying to predict the result and whether that’ll be enough to secure Champions League football at Old Trafford next season.
It was just before this weekend that Solskjaer claimed his team would need fifteen points to finish third. We’re one win closer to that goal, so essentially, four more wins from five fixtures should do it…
United scraped past a spirited West Ham side by the skin of their teeth on Saturday. I’d like to think that’s due to the fact that we’re still prioritising our game against FC Barcelona. Come Tuesday night, we’ll know where we stand in that regard.
Our next league game is Everton (A). Goodison Park has been a right mixed bag for United down the years. We’ve secured some incredible results away at The Toffees, but, there has been some moments to forget as well. Quite fittingly, Marco Silva’s men have been consistently inconsistent. I feel this result depends on which Everton side turns up. If they start well and they’re feeling confident I’d take a draw off your hands right now. However, if they begin to look nervous and panicked I’d fancy us to get all three.
Verdict: 1-1 draw.
Manchester City (H) is our second fixture from five. Pep Guardiola’s men will be fighting it out for the title so they’ll come to the Theatre of Dreams feeling good and ready to play. Not only is this the key game in our race for a top-four finish but it could also determine the destination of the Premier League.
We’re yet to beat City at Old Trafford in the league with Pep Guardiola as the visiting manager. Our form coupled with theirs paints one picture but the fact that it’s a derby means anything can happen. It’ll be a full-blooded, closely-fought affair that could go either way. Again, I’ll go for a draw.
Verdict: 1-1 draw.
Another week, another huge home game. Chelsea (H) is third. Maurizio Sarri’s team have been playing better recently but again, it’s tough to predict what side will turn up. There is no room for error here, we have to win this one. Not only will it boost our chances but it’d also mean we’d leapfrog Chelsea in the table. Three points here is a must. I think we’ll get them.
Verdict: 2-1 win.
Our fourth game is our last away fixture, against Huddersfield Town (A). The Terriers are already relegated and that could play into our hands as they’ll be playing for pride and pride alone. We cannot forget that Huddersfield did beat us in this fixture last season and United will be looking to right those wrongs. Surely you’d fancy us to win, and win comfortably.
Verdict: 3-1 win.
We end the season against Cardiff City (H). It’s looking like Neil Warnock’s side could be relegated by the time we meet, which again could play into our hands. If we go into this game with a chance at securing a top four finish, you’d certainly fancy us to get a much-needed victory.
Verdict: 2-0 win.
Total: 11 points from 15.
That puts us one short of Solskjaer’s twelve-point tally. Basically, that means we’d have to be nigh-on perfect while hoping for mistakes from others. Football is a funny old game, no doubt they’ll be plenty more twists and turns before all is done and dusted, but looking at our fixtures, we have to believe, we have to feel confident.