Here is how Manchester United could be denied a place in the Champions League even after finishing in the top four.
Manchester United sneaked into the top four once again following a dramatic 3-2 win over Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday. The Red Devils came from behind to secure all three points through goals from Andreas Pereira and a brace from Romelu Lukaku.
The 20-time Premier League champions were struggling under the management of Jose Mourinho and were 13 points off the fourth place. The scenario has totally flipped since his departure in December.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 2, 2019
🗓️ December 2018 (after defeat to Liverpool)
📉 6th in the Premier League, ELEVEN points adrift of the top four
🗓️ March 2019
📈 4th in the Premier League, unbeaten in 12
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) March 2, 2019
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won 13 out of his 16 games in charge and has done well to claim another victory on Saturday despite the ongoing injury crisis. The English outfit will be aiming to finish in a top four spot this term, but they could be denied a Champions League place even if they cement their fourth place.
In recent weeks, Tottenham Hotspur have had a massive slump. The London club were just one point behind second-placed Manchester City, but they are now ten points adrift which means that they are not going to be title challengers until something dramatic happens.
If they fail to pick themselves quick, there is every chance of seeing them drop out of the top four as Arsenal and Chelsea are eagerly anticipating for someone to drop points. If the London club does not finish in the top four in the Premier League, Spurs will need to win the Champions League to secure Europe’s elite competition for the fourth season running.
Where Chelsea can win or lose the race for top four against Spurs, Manchester United and Arsenalhttps://t.co/acs5ag0pLp
— football.london (@Football_LDN) March 1, 2019
Mauricio Pochettino’s men made a statement to the rest of Europe by beating the German table-toppers Borussia Dortmund 3-0 at Wembley Stadium. Should they enter the next round of the competition, there is every chance of defeating one of Europe’s elites because there is no shortage of talent.
Unai Emery’s men were the better side when his team drew 1-1 to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday. The Gunners have looked assured defensively in recent weeks and will try to continue that in the forthcoming months to seal a spot in the top four.
Should they capitalize on Tottenham Hotspur’s slump and get above Manchester United in the league table to finish third, there is a chance of seeing the Red Devils drop out of the competition for the next year. Furthermore, the club must win the Europa League which would automatically push United to the Europa League competition.
— David Jones (@_MrDavidJones) March 2, 2019
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) March 2, 2019
The same equation applies for Chelsea too. Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea have slowly started to find their feet following the demoralizing 6-0 defeat to Manchester City. They will face Fulham in the next game and should they win the game in hand, they will leapfrog to the fourth spot.
Manchester United will drop out of Champions League next term if everything happens simultaneously, (i.e) Arsenal or Chelsea finish third and win the Europa League and Tottenham Hotspur finish out of top four and lift the Champions League. These two will work provided the Red Devils finish in fourth place.
The Red Devils will be aiming to qualify for the Champions League to keep some of their stars at the club as they aim to rebuild the club once again.
Since there is no decision about the permanent manager, Ole Gunner Solskjaer is believed to be heading the race after a scintillating start as the interim manager at Old Trafford. Mauricio Pochettino is another manager in the shortlist at Manchester United, but Tottenham Hotspur will be demanding 40 million pounds as per the reports.
With Liverpool and Manchester City settling out for top two spots, it will be interesting to see who would fill the next two positions.