Fixtures in focus: United fighting for top-four finish
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Manchester United DNA coursing through his veins and, as such, defiance is a huge part of his personality. Our manager always wants to fight with everything he’s got, through the pain barrier and until the final whistle blows.
It won’t be easy - nothing worth achieving ever is - but Solskjaer is right to state that anything is possible at this great club when our minds are fixed on a target.
The challenge is clear: earn nine points and score as many goals as possible from the three remaining games against Chelsea, Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City.
What about our rivals for Champions League qualification? Let’s take a look at the run-in, whom each club will face and when…
Tottenham v West Ham (Sat 27 April, 12:30 BST)
Leicester v Arsenal (Sun 28 April, 12:00 BST)
United v Chelsea (Sun 28 April, 16:30 BST)
PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHWEEK 37
Bournemouth v Tottenham (Sat 4 May, 12:30 BST)
Chelsea v Watford (Sun 5 May, 14:00 BST)
Huddersfield v United (Sun 5 May, 14:00 BST)
Arsenal v Brighton (Sun 5 May, 16:30 BST)
PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHWEEK 38
Burnley v Arsenal (Sun 12 May, 15:00 BST)
Leicester v Chelsea (Sun 12 May, 15:00 BST)
Tottenham v Everton (Sun 12 May, 15:00 BST)
United v Cardiff (Sun 12 May, 15:00 BST)
TOP FOUR IS THERE FOR THE TAKING
Every club chasing a place in the Champions League has stumbled in recent weeks and, with three games left to play, Solskjaer’s men know that a place in the top four is still within touching distance.
“It’s still open,” says Treble winner Wes Brown, who is backing Ole’s men to produce when it really matters most. “That’s the main thing – we’ve still got a chance. We’ve got to beat Chelsea and, if we do that, we will go level with them on points. There are a few games left and that would push us on to try to nick that fourth spot. It’s important because we want to be in the Champions League next season and it’s important we give it our all and try to do our best to get there.”
Tough period for us at the moment and as a United fan myself I understand how you’re feeling. We’ve shown how we can play, we need to get back to doing what we know we can do! @ManUtd— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) April 25, 2019
ONE COMPETITION, ONE FOCUS
Arsenal and Chelsea have both reached the Europa League semi-finals and have important two-legged ties to come in early May, against Valencia and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively. Tottenham, meanwhile, will arguably have at least half an eye on the Champions League semi-final versus Ajax.
Could those European distractions influence the Premier League run-in? “I think they will,” says Brown. “No matter what anyone says, it does take a bit out of you. We can only focus on ourselves, though, starting on Sunday against Chelsea. We’ve got some important games coming up.
“Chelsea have got the Europa League but we’ve got to focus because we’ve had a bit of a bad patch recently. We need to start winning games and there is no place better to start than against Chelsea.”
OLD TRAFFORD IS NEEDED
Solskjaer has urged the fans to get behind his team again for the visit of Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea.
“Sunday is a massive one," says Ole. "Sunday is something we have got to get ready for. The crowd has got to get ready for it, the players have got to get ready for it. Of course, we have analysed them. Let's just make sure we turn up on Sunday with the same attitude and a little bit more quality in front of goal, hopefully.
“Let's get the win that everybody wants, that the fans deserve and that the players deserve because they have made a terrific effort to give us a chance with three games to go to get in the top four.”
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