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Man United should finish a comfortable third in the Premier League

by Red Billy

Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest yesterday lifted them to third place in the Premier League as the hunt to finish in the top four intensifies.

With Arsenal and Manchester City almost assured of finishing first and second, the race revolves around third and fourth place, with four teams in with a realistic chance of clinching a coveted Champions League spot.

United are joined by Newcastle United (currently in 4th), Tottenham Hotspur (5th) and Brighton (7th). Aston Villa and Liverpool also have an outside chance of making a late run, but the teams ahead of them would have to drop a lot of points for them to be successful.

United have a three-point advantage over Newcastle, both with eight games to play, and a six point lead over Spurs, who have played one more game. Brighton have an extra game left to play and would be a point ahead of Spurs if they won their two games in hand.

In terms of “6 pointers” – games between two of the competing clubs that would result in a six-point difference in gap between the two depending on which team wins – United have two coming – both away, to Spurs and Brighton. Newcastle only have one – their next match, at home to Spurs. Spurs have just those two 6-pointers and Brighton just have United.

However, Brighton still have to play both Arsenal (A) and Manchester City (H). Newcastle also have to play Arsenal at St James Park.

Spurs’ run-in looks the hardest, with tough away games against Liverpool, Villa and Leeds as well as those two 6-pointers. They will drop points and it seems likely that United will finish ahead of them, given the 6 point cushion they already have. We expect the Londoners to get between 12 and 15 points from their remaining games.

Newcastle also have to play Leeds at Elland Road, and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – although that isn’t proving to be the terrifying prospect it would normally be. We also predict they will get 12 to 15 points.

Brighton’s run-in will be hampered by the sheer number of games left to play with a smaller squad than their three rivals. Our estimate of their haul is the same – 12 to 15 points.

United should expect to get between 15 and 18 points from their remaining games, leaving them comfortably in the Champions League places.

Of course, those two 6-pointers against Spurs and Brighton will be the most important of the eight remaining games. Two wins from them, and the Red Devils will probably be able to afford a few slip-ups.

Our predicted final points are therefore:
3. United 77 points
4. Newcastle 71 points
5. Spurs 68 pts
6. Brighton 64 pts

Remaining fixtures in the race for top four:


Chelsea (H) TBA
Spurs (A) Thu 27 April
Villa (H) Sun 30 April
Brighton (A) Thu 4th May
West Ham (A) Sun 7th May
Wolves (H) Sat 13th May
Bournemouth (A) Sat 20th May
Fulham (H) Sun 28th May


Spurs (H) Sun 23 April
Everton (A) Thu 27 April
Southampton (H) Sun 30 April
Arsenal (H) Sun May 7th
Leeds (A) Sat May 13th
Leicester (H) Sat May 20th
Chelsea (A) Sun May 28th


Newcastle (A) Sun 23 April
United (H) Thu 27 April
Liverpool (A) Sun 30 April
Palace (H) Sat May 6th
Villa (A) Sat May 13th
Brentford (H) Sat May 20th
Leeds (A) Sun May 28th

Man City (H) TBA
Forest (A) Wed April 26th
Wolves (H) Sat April 29th
United (H) Thu May 4th
Everton (H) Mon May 8th
Arsenal (A) Sun May 14th
Southampton (H) Sat May 20th
Villa (A) Sun May 28th

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