The 'Race' for 4th - from a Manchester United fans perspective
13 Apr, 2014 10:27 AM GMT
After a 'disastrous' season from a Manchester United fans perspective, the Red Devils sit 7th, on 57 points; with 5 games to play. Tottenham (6th), sit on 60 points, but with only four games to play. Arsenal (5th), sit on 64 points, with 5 games to play. And Everton, currently 4th, sit on 66 points, with 5 games left to play.
A Champions League spot for United, looks almost certainly out of reach. But when you look at the fixtures of which we have to play, and the teams around us have to play; it makes you wonder.
United's last five games consist of a trip to Goodison Park, of which could be huge in the potential race for 4th. Shortly followed by three relatively easy games at home, against Norwich, Sunderland and Hull - 3 games where we should easily pick up 9 points. And the last game of the season, away to Southampton; a winnable game seeing their current form, but anything can happen in football. If United
Everton's last five games could be difficult, they face Crystal Palace at home, then United at home, then, like United; Southampton away; then Manchester City at home, and to finish their season; Hull away. If United are aiming for 4th, Everton can not pick up more than 6 points in their last 5 games, seems unlikely, but could easily happen; United will have to win all of their remaining 5 games to draw equal with Everton at 4th spot, as well as increasing their goal difference to above Everton, of which currently stands at +18 for United, and +22 for Everton.
Arsenal's last 5 fixtures look relatively easy, however; their form recently may effect their fight for 4th. They host West Ham, then travel to Hull, then return to the Emirates and play Newcastle, then West Brom and finish the season off at Carrow Road, against a struggling Norwich side. A similar position as Everton, because if Arsenal pick up more than 8 points out of their last 5 games, United mathematically can not get the Champions League spot. Again, it seems unlikely, but could happen; with a few dodgy results away from home, and a potential flop in one of their last 3 home games. Goal difference could again come into play, with Arsenal currently on +16, 2 less than United.
Tottenham have four games remaining, and currently sit on 60 points, 3 ahead of United, 4 behind Arsenal and 6 behind Everton. Spurs host Fulham at home, then travel to Stoke, then West Ham and then finish off with a home game to Villa. Picking up 3 points in each game would see Tottenham finish on 72 points, but look unlikely to be the team that rule United out of a Champions League, with a lousy goal difference of 0.
Anything could happen in the next 5 weeks. Personally, I can't see Everton getting a result against us, or City; and potentially Southampton. I can't see Arsenal beating West Ham or Hull; yet could easily pick up points in other games. I can't see Tottenham finishing strongly, even though they probably have the easiest remaining games of the 4, they still could slip up to West Ham and Stoke.
For me, the Champions League spot is pretty much out of reach for United this season, but a few good results and a few dodgy slip-ups for teams around them, and they're in there with a shot. You have to be optimistic in football, because with no hope; there's no game.