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Can Manchester United still make the top four?

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Manchester United travel to Everton this weekend, in a game that could have a big outcome on the race for fourth spot, and the final Champions League place. 

Everton and Arsenal appear to be the two teams vying for the all important European place, with Tottenham and United seemingly out of the question. 

But with five games to go, are Manchester United still in with a chance of stealing fourth place at the very last minute? Realistically and more than likely no, but it is by no means impossible. 

One thing is for sure, anything less than a win tomorrow, and you can certainly rule them out. 

Winning at Goodison Park is difficult at the best of times, but not many people will fancy United this time around, as David Moyes returns to his former club for the first time. 

But with the best away record in the league, it wouldn't be a major shock should the Red Devils leave Merseyside with a victory. 

Everton's fine form was brought to a firm end in midweek with a 3-2 home defeat to Crystal Palace, one of the league's form teams. 

For the first time this season, the pressure was on the home side, following their victory over Arsenal a fortnight ago, as talk began over a possible return to the Champions League. 

Roberto Martinez said this was their undoing in their defeat to Palace, and something that United will be keen to exploit in Sunday's encounter. 

Win tomorrow, and United will be six points behind Everton, with a game in hand. Still tough to over turn, but with Manchester City still to head to Goodison Park, as well as away trips to Southampton and Hull, the blues could easily struggle to pick up any more wins.

After their clash with Everton, United will have a further four games left to play, as they welcome Hull, Norwich and Sunderland to Old Trafford before a visit to St Mary's on the final day.

Realistically, and despite the fact three of these sides find themselves in the relegation battle and will be doing all they can to pick up points in these games, United can win all these games and claim maximum points. Many would expect nothing less.

Five victories from their remaining five games would see them finish on 72 points, which could, be enough.

Given the advantage a handy goal difference would offer them, then 73 points is what is required from the other teams chasing fourth spot.

As mentioned Everton, currently on 66, would fail to make this if they were to lose to both Manchester clubs.

Tottenham, who sit one place above the Reds, can finish with a maximum of 72 points, the same as United, but with a vastly worse goal difference, would miss finish behind should both teams claim maximum points.

And then finally, we come to Arsenal, the favourites to take fourth. Sitting on 67 points with four games to go, and with a kind run in, they are in the driving seat to qualify once again. 

Two wins, or six points, from games against Hull, Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich, is something you would expect them to achieve. That would take them to the magic 73 points, a target that Manchester United couldn't reach.

But these games won't be forgone conclusions considering there are also three relegation candidates involved, meaning nothing can be taken for certain.

Given their injury problems, and the fact they may have one eye on the FA Cup final, then a couple of slip ups are not out of the question.

A lot of ifs and buts yes, but overcome Everton tomorrow, and Manchester United could be a lot closer than you think come the final day of the season, where we have seen over the years, anything can happen. 

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Topics:
Football
Manchester United
Premier League

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