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How Man Utd can make up seven points in 10 games to qualify for UCL this season

Not long ago, qualifying for next season’s Champions League seemed near impossible from Manchester United’s perspective, but the situation has improved. Punters looking to bet on the PowerPlay sportsbook on Man Utd playing in the UCL next season would have been better advised in January to bet against their club for a fairer chance of winning. However, since then lots has changed.

Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur have suffered a dip in form, while other close competitors, such as Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United, have struggled with inconsistent performances.

Consistency has not been the Red Devils’ strong suit either, but a 2-0 home victory against Everton last time out lifted them within nine points of fourth-placed Villa.

However, as the Champions League prepares for a new format, fifth place would probably do the trick for Erik ten Hag’s side if they can overcome a six-point deficit on fifth-placed Spurs—seven given the severely handicapped goal difference. 

As the season enters the business end, with only ten games left, there’s virtually no margin for error as we examine Man Utd’s chances of securing a second consecutive Champions League finish. 

Must-win fixtures

Man United return to Premier League action on March 30 with a potentially awkward trip to the Gtech Community Stadium to take on surprising relegation candidates Brentford. 

Ten Hag’s team headed into the international break in high spirits after pulling off a 4-3 extra-time win over fierce rivals Liverpool in their FA quarter-final tie.

Kobbie Mainoo, who had an impressive game at Old Trafford, is bracing himself for his senior England debut after receiving a delayed call-up from Gareth Southgate, per ManUtd.com.

The prodigious midfielder has gone from strength to strength in his breakout campaign and will be at the heart of Ten Hag’s double-pivot in London.

Despite Brentford’s reputation as ‘giant killers,’ Thomas Frank’s men have endured a disastrous season. And United can’t afford to drop points against a side they’ve defeated in their last two league meetings.

United’s trip to Stamford Bridge on April 4 looks formidable on paper, but the Blues are not a shadow of a team that used to compete for high places in the Premier League.

Playing in west London is never easy, but the Red Devils must take three points in this match-up to increase their chances of leapfrogging Tottenham.

The same goes for another away clash against Bournemouth.

‘Revenge is a dish best served called’ emerges as the theme of this trip after the Cherries trounced Man United 3-0 in the reverse fixture in December. 

However, Andoni Iraola’s strugglers have since suffered a substantial downfall, making this contest a must-win affair for the 20-time Premier League champions. 

Burnley’s visit to Old Trafford in the following round should be a walk in the park, while a trip to Selhurst Park for a game against Crystal Palace next week is another decent-looking opportunity to get in the win column.

Character tests

Ten Hag’s foremost assignment is to maintain chemistry within the dressing room, which could prove a challenging task after a series of omissions of underperforming senior first-team stars.

Christian Eriksen is the first name on this list.

Speaking to Tipsbladet while on international duty with Denmark, the experienced midfielder voiced his concern over his depleted playing time at Old Trafford. 

But Mainoo’s rise to stardom has overshadowed the veteran ace, and Eriksen barely has a point arguing Ten Hag’s choice in this particular matter.

The one thing Ten Hag has to do is reinvigorate Marcus Rashford for the season finale. 

Rashford excelled in the FA Cup triumph against Liverpool and will have to repeat that performance when the two sides meet at Old Trafford on April 7.

If United can take three points against the Reds, it would kill two birds with one stone.

Not only would they send a telling message to fellow Champions League hopefuls, but it would land a hammer blow to the Anfield outfit’s title hopes. 

Speaking of title contenders, Man United will face table-topping Arsenal at home on May 11. 

Since their clash comes on the penultimate matchday, the stakes will be at an all-time high, especially if the Gunners stay on top. 

But despite Arsenal’s outstanding form in 2024, United can always rely on the raucous home support to inspire them to another high-profile victory ahead of the last day’s encounter against Brighton.

Contesting on several fronts has taken its toll on the Seagulls this term, and the Red Devils should pick up three points here, no matter how daunting this fixture may look on paper.

Conclusion

It’s not a straightforward schedule, but if Ten Hag wants to stay in charge next season, he must find a way to navigate these challenges. 

Man Utd have the quality, and it’s only up to the Dutchman to put all the pieces in place for the final sprint. 

Slip-ups against sides like Bournemouth or Brentford are no longer tolerable. 

Then, if the Red Devils can take big scalps elsewhere, it’s a bonus. 

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