Sunday 8 May 2016

United's fate now in our hands with two games to go

City's draw with Arsenal on Sunday means that United sit only two points behind our cross-town rivals with a game in hand and our fate in our own hands.

It just goes to show what a crazy season this has been: Pellegrini's side started like a train and were favourites for the title as recently as February yet still look set to finish below an oft-criticised and below par United side who were written off by all and sundry. 

Pep Guardiola could be inhering a City side playing in the Europa League. How brilliant would that be! 

The equation for us is simple: three games and three victories required for that all important top four finish and a twelfth FA Cup success. 

The fact that Liverpool have reached the Europa League final makes no difference: they would take a Champions League spot should they beat Sevilla but no one would miss out and the Premier League would have five teams in the competition next season. 

A win on Tuesday at West Ham would send Louis van Gaal's side above City and into fourth, meaning that we'd only need victory over a Bournemouth side with nothing to play for on the final day to seal a Champions League place.

However, as we've experienced with our team so many times before, nothing is straightforward. 

United under Van Gaal have a habit of being unconvincing and face a tough test against a Hammers side who will be looking to leave Upton Park with victory and eager to bounce back after their home loss to Swansea yesterday. 

What's considered a successful season at Old Trafford these days? 

I said last season that fourth isn't an achievement worth celebrating and I still think that but- after this rocky and at times traumatic season- who's going to really to complain at a potential double of Champions League qualification and domestic silverware. 

We're not Arsenal and shouldn't be appeased by squeezing into the top four and winning the FA Cup- it's papering over the cracks- but that would be an improvement from last season and the fact that it would be City to miss out makes it doubly welcome.

It would also make it increasingly difficult for the United board to sack Van Gaal and deny him the opportunity to see out the third and final year of his contract.

We're unlikely to win the Champions League even if we do qualify, but a club of United's size and stature should be there every season and it's vital both financially and to attract top players to the club.

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