Predictions: Why Man United will finish ahead of Liverpool
Manchester United are capable of securing 11 points from their last five games, which would secure fourth place ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool
It’s been a strange couple of weeks at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s future looked to be almost untenable following their Champions League exit. A 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 was sandwiched between 3-1 defeats at Chelsea and Liverpool. The Gunners lost to Watford and West Brom on the road, too. However, in typical Arsenal fashion, the Gunners have regrouped and have won three of their last four Premier League games. If Arsenal can win their game in hand on Manchester City and Manchester United, the north London side will only be a point behind the Manchester clubs. Indeed, Wenger’s side are six points behind third-placed Liverpool and have played two games less than the Merseyside club. However, with games against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, as well as trips to Southampton and Stoke City, it’s difficult to see Arsenal claiming more than nine points in their remaining six fixtures.
Prediction: Sixth (69 points)
Liverpool are in pole position to finish in the Premier League top four having already secured more points than their rivals. Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have all played less games – though. Ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace, Liverpool looked to be in a commanding position to secure a top-four finish on the back of wins at Stoke City and West Brom – two teams that have caused the Reds problems in recent seasons. Christian Benteke came back to haunt his former club last weekend with goals either side of half-time to secure a surprise 2-1 win for Palace. Only Manchester City have an easier run of fixtures than Liverpool. Klopp’s men will face Watford, Southampton, West Ham and Middlesbrough in their last four games. Southampton and West Ham both have good records against Liverpool in recent times. It would be no surprise to see Klopp’s men continue their struggles against the smaller clubs, particularly when faced with the prospect of getting past Southampton and West Ham. With Sadio Mane out injured and Liverpool’s defence still conceding soft goals from set-pieces, this season could end in more disappointment.
Prediction: Fifth (74 points)
Manchester City will finish in the top four. Pep Guardiola’s side have a decent run of fixtures to finish the season and it’s difficult to envisage Middlesbrough, West Brom or West Brom causing them too many problems. Leicester are still showing some fighting spirit, as highlighted by an unfortunate 1-0 loss at Arsenal mid-week. Palace have already secured the scalps of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool over the past month and Sam Allardyce will relish the chance to outwit Guardiola with his tactical genius. However, Manchester City should collect maximum points and see out their season at a canter.
Prediction: Third (80 points)
Manchester United battled to a goalless draw with Manchester City in what was a trademark Jose Mourinho performance at The Etihad. While it means Manchester City are likely to finish above their city rivals for the fourth successive season, the point is significant in Manchester United’s bid to secure the final Champions League spot. The Red Devils have already secured valuable points in goalless stalemates at Liverpool and Manchester City, with Mourinho managing to blunt Guardiola’s attack despite his injury crisis. He will surely send his Manchester United players out with the same tactical plan when the Red Devils make the trip to Arsenal and Tottenham. Even with their Europa League commitments, Manchester United are capable of picking up 11 points from their remaining five fixtures which should be enough to secure fourth place.
Prediction: Fourth (75 points)