Four reasons why Manchester United will finish above Chelsea and qualify for Champions League

Four reasons why Manchester United will finish above Chelsea and qualify for Champions League
United's defense has visibly improved since last summer's arrival of Harry Maguire

After having a poor start to the 2019/20 season, the Red Devils have recovered their form in the last few weeks and look favorites to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

With only eleven games remaining in the 2019/20 Premier League season, Manchester United currently look favorites to leave Chelsea behind and finish in the top four. The Red Devils have overturned their poor early-season form and look like a side with something to prove in the season’s remaining weeks.

That wasn’t exactly the case when a two-goal home defeat at the hands of fierce rivals Liverpool last month was followed by another defeat by the same margin. However, while their loss to the Champions-elect had some mitigating factors, United didn’t have any place to hide when Burnley handed them a hiding at the Turf Moor.

Fast forward three weeks, and two wins in the last as many games have injected confidence back into the Man United faithful who were growing disillusioned with the direction the club was heading before their recent string of decent results.

So what has changed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men since then? After all, two games is an incredibly small sample with which to gauge the long-term ambitions of a club. Why exactly are they favorites to finish ahead of a Chelsea side which looked nail-on to finish in the top four only a few weeks ago? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons to find out.

Remaining fixtures favor United

Man United trio shortlisted for Golden Boy award
Mason Greenwood is expected to start on the bench on Friday (Image Copyright: imago images / PRiME Media Images xJxGILLx / xPRiMExMediaxImagesx)
A mere glance at the remaining fixture of both Chelsea and Man United indicates that the Red Devils have a relatively kind schedule facing them between now and the end of the season.

Let’s start by looking at the remaining 11 fixtures of the Blues. After this weekend’s trip to the South Coast to face relegation-threatened Bournemouth, Frank Lampard’s men face an extremely tricky run of fixtures which would see them lock horns with Everton, Aston Villa, and Manchester City one after the other.

The Blues will then face a reprieve as their next two games, which will take place in the middle of the March, see them play against Watford and Crystal Palace. Throw into the mix their last three games of the season, two of which will see them facing Liverpool and Wolves and the Blues still have to face four sides who are currently in the top six.

United don’t have such demanding fixtures coming their way once they see off the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham in three weeks’ time. Even the away game at Spurs doesn’t look unwinnable as the North London club faces the risk of a season derailed by injuries to their key players.

Furthermore, in contrast to the Blues, United have one less game to play against the Premier League’s top six (3) in their remaining 11 fixtures. That gives them the slightest of the edge which might prove to be crucial once the points of both the sides are tallied come end of May.


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Chelsea’s recent troubles give United an edge

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The Red Devils have money to spend in the transfer window Image Credit : Robin Parker / Sportimage

Apart from their relatively tricky fixture list, other factors also put the Stamford Bridge residents at a disadvantage vis-à-vis their Old Trafford counterparts.

Take their form against the ‘Big Six,’ for instance. Including their recent defeat at the hands of the Red Devils, the Blues have locked horns with top-six sides on seven different occasions but managed to eke out victories in only two of them. By contrast, United have won five games against the top six teams.

United also have an edge when it comes to new signings. Bruno Fernandes, who joined the club in January, immediately made his presence felt by scoring their opening goal against Watford last weekend. The Blues can’t look toward new players as they didn’t sign any in the previous month.

The form in front of goal of both teams – as well as their form in front of their own goal – also favors the Red Devils. While Frank Lampard’s men need almost 10 shots to score a goal, United need only 9 to put the ball into the back of the net.

Finally, while Chelsea have conceded more 37 goals already this season after facing 236 shots, United run a much tighter ship at the back as they have let in only 27 goals despite facing 34 more shots (270) in the first 27 games of the 2019/20 campaign. All these factors combine to favor United to finish ahead of Chelsea this season.

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