Premier League: Can Manchester United earn top-four finish?
The race for a top-four finish in the Premier League has gained impetus after Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday. Chelsea are fourth at the moment, however, United are adrift by just three points at seventh. From fourth till 11th, it could be anybody taking that last Champions League berth. We analyze United's situation.
Liverpool to seal title, eight teams vying for fourth place
League leaders Liverpool are on the verge of sealing the title this season. Meanwhile, Manchester City and Leicester City have a substantial gap over the others in second and third places respectively. City, who have been handed a two-season suspension from the Champions League, will contest the punishment. Keeping that aside, eight teams are vying for the fourth position and final Champions League berth.
Which teams are vying for the fourth place?
Chelsea have 41 points so far after 26 matches and occupy the fourth place. However, things could change soon with Tottenham visiting Stamford Bridge next. Fifth-placed Spurs have 40 points and are above Sheffield United (39) and Man United (38). Wolves and Everton have 36 points each and can lead a fight. Whereas, Arsenal and Burnley (34 each) cannot be ruled out either.
Bruno Fernandes can light up United's campaign
Bruno Fernandes has been a solid addition for United. The Portuguese featured in just his second Premier League game and showed his value. After being United's best player against Wolves in the 0-0 draw, he made an assist against Chelsea. The mid-fielder saw manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refer to him as the team's conductor, "He's a top player and he's a conductor," Solskjaer said.
Returning United players can aid the club offer a challenge
United's season has been indifferent largely due to absence of key players suffering injuries. Eric Bailly showed composure after playing his maiden match this season against the Blues. In the coming weeks, we will see Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe return. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are recovering. These two match-winners can add more dynamism in the business end of the season.
In Rashford's absence, United need the others to deliver
It's a cat and mouse situation regarding the fourth place and anything can happen. The club needs to get the job done and not worry about what's happening elsewhere. United have often lacked the impact going forward. In attack, Anthony Martial and new signing Odion Ighalo will need to shoulder the goal-scoring responsibility. However, with Mason Greenwood also there, Solskjaer will eye good moments.