Arsenal give United fighting chance to overtake rivals City
Last weekend’s results in the Premier League have set up a thrilling final week in the race for Champions League places.
Manchester United cranked up the pressure with victory at Norwich City on Saturday, and with Manchester City only drawing against Arsenal the following day it’s now any two from three for the remaining top four spots.
Arsenal are currently third in the table with 68 points, three ahead of City with United a further two points behind but with a game in hand.
United head to West Ham on Tuesday knowing a win would see them leapfrog City going into the final weekend.
Louis Van Gaal’s team welcome Bournemouth to Old Trafford on the last day of the season, with City travelling to Swansea City. Arsenal host Aston Villa needing just a point to secure a top four finish.
Recent history suggests United will avoid defeat at West Ham, with the last four meetings at the Boleyn Ground resulting in two wins and two draws for the Red Devils.
However, the Hammers have been defying expectations all season and it will undoubtedly be a great atmosphere for their final game at the stadium which could make it tricky for the visitors.
Bournemouth already proved they can be tricky opponents for United, after securing a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
The Cherries’ season has stagnated of late and they could find facing a United side with everything to play for a step too far.
Swansea won’t be an easy game for City as they seem to be ending the season on a high after scoring seven goals in their last two games – three against Liverpool and four against West Ham.
Since they came up to the Premier League, Swansea have beaten City once and lost twice in four meetings at the Liberty Stadium.
Finishing outside the top four would cap a slowly declining season for City as they say goodbye to Manuel Pellegrini ahead of Pep Guardiola’s arrival in the summer.
Qualifying for the Champions League may buy some time for Van Gaal after what has been a largely indifferent season for the club.
With an FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace still to come, the Dutchman could yet end the campaign on a high note. Whether that would be enough to prevent Jose Mourinho’s appointment as manager for next season remains to be seen.