Thursday, May 23, 2024

Manchester United return to Champions League play coming closer to reality

Manchester United only needs one more point or a loss by Liverpool to qualify for the Champions League following Casemiro’s brilliant overhead kick earned a 1-0 win away at Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday. They came close to qualifying but Roberto Firmino is ensuring that his final season with Liverpool is a memorable one, scoring a late equalizer to draw Aston Villa and keep the Reds in contention.

Liverpool were able to keep their 10-match unbeaten run going to push United as long as possible. Level on 69 points, Manchester United and Newcastle United are both at risk of being caught by Liverpool but Newcastle United’s superior goal difference should be enough to keep them in third place.

Manchester United return to Champions League play coming closer to reality

Premier League top five

PlaceTeam NameMPWDLGDP
1Manchester City3527446185
2Arsenal 3625654181
3Newcastle United36191253569
4Manchester United3621691169

An excellent goal from Casemiro was the difference for the Red Devils versus Bournemouth as the Brazilian has been quite a contributor since joining Real Madrid with three goals and three assists to fill a much-needed void as a defensive midfielder.

Manchester United Season

Champions League qualification felt unlikely after the Red Devils opened the season with losses to Brighton and Brentford but those turned out to be signs of how good the duo were rather than something showing United’s demise. Now on the doorstep of returning to the Champions League after a year-long absence, credit must go to Ten Hag who was able to oversee Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract being terminated after the World Cup while keeping his team’s focus on the task at hand of making the top four as well as Mason Greenwood’s suspension from the team. Injuries to Raphael Varane, Marcus Rashford, and Lisandro Martinez haven’t slowed the team down either. Today’s result meant Erik ten Hag is close to achieving his primary objective in his first season in charge.

This was not Ten Hag’s side at their best, but once they were in front they limited a spirited and organized Bournemouth to a handful of chances, with David de Gea in good form to deny Gary O’Neil’s side whenever they threatened. But the visitors saw the job out and one more point will ensure Ten Hag can turn his attention to an FA Cup final meeting with Manchester City at Wembley.

Manchester United Champions League qualification scenarios

With a win or draw over Chelsea on Thursday: Manchester United will qualify for the Champions League if they get a draw or win against the Blues this Thursday. Liverpool won’t be eliminated yet if Newcastle United loses to Leicester on Monday, but it will be a tough road for the Reds.

With a loss against Chelsea: Qualification will go to the final day of the season. Liverpool would still need a United loss versus Fulham on the final day but due to the Reds having a superior goal difference, if United loses their next two games and Liverpool defeats Southampton, that will be enough to see Jurgen Klopp pull off an unlikely return to Champions League soccer.

Newcastle United drops out of the Champions League if: United defeats Chelsea and Fulham, Newcastle loses out versus  Leicester City and Chelsea and Liverpool defeat Southampton while overturning a seven-goal Newcastle advantage in goal difference. It’s safe to say that Newcastle appears to be guaranteed a Champions League spot.