Manchester United's ongoing struggle to break into the Premier League's top four may be a complete waste of time. A quite frankly ridiculous set of circumstances appears to be turning into the perfect storm and it is heading straight for Old Trafford.
Here, we will attempt to explain a set of circumstances that, at the beginning of the season, were probably less likely to occur than Leicester City winning the Premier League.
The Red Devils currently sit four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, but a spell of poor form, a tough run in and commitments to the Champions League means United have every chance of catching their city rivals.
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Should they finish in fourth place, it will come as a relief to the fans as well as the commercial team at Old Trafford. However, that relief could be short-lived should City and Liverpool continue their respective European campaigns.
Kevin De Bruyne inspired the Citizens to a quarter-final victory over Paris-Saint Germain at the Etihad on Wednesday night. His late goal gave them a 1-0 lead on the night, a 3-2 lead on aggregate and sealed a passage to the club's first Champions League semi-final.
Should City go on to win the trophy, they will gain automatic entry to next season's competition, regardless of where they finish in the Premier League.
As we all know, the winners of the Europa League also gain automatic entry to the Champions League. With Liverpool amongst the favourites to take home European football's bridesmaid trophy, it opens up the possibility of the Premier League's fourth place becoming redundant.
Uefa rules limit any one country to five teams in one single Champions League competition and should English teams win the Europa League and the Champions League, it will be the lowest domestic place that bites the dust.
Liverpool must first see off Borussia Dortmund to qualify for the semi-finals, but if they do so they will surely be the favourites to win the competition. Manchester City will be the underdogs in a final four likely to include Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, but after two impressive performances against PSG, few would bet against them.
With Liverpool and Manchester City making up two of United's biggest rivals in football, it leaves us in a potentially hilarious situation where fans from both sides will each other on at the expense of Louis van Gaal's team.
Here are some sharp tacks who have already figured it out:
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