In the absence of any proper football, we decided to see how Manchester United’s remaining nine Premier League fixtures would play out – on FIFA 20.
So far, United have continued their real-life unbeaten run, with four wins and two draws.
In the final installment, we’ve simmed the final three matches of the season as well as looking at Chelsea’s run-in – have United done enough to reach the Champions League next season?
Their next two fixtures are at home to sides against whom they were absolutely abject on the road to in real life…
Sheffield United (H)
November’s trip to Bramall Lane got off to a shambolic start as Solskjaer opted to shift to a back three to match up Chris Wilder’s side.
That included bringing in Phil Jones, who was at fault in the build-up to John Fleck’s opening goal before being withdrawn at half time.
It’s no surprise Solskjaer went for a 4-2-3-1 system here, with the main team news that United loanee Dean Henderson is ineligible to play.
United came as close as they’ve done to conceding throughout this whole simulation when David McGoldrick raced clear and beat David de Gea, only to see his shot cannon off the post.
Anthony Martial made the most of that let-off on 39 minutes, escaping the shackles of the Blades’ three physical central defenders to finish off a slick passing move. That saw United go in 1-0 up at the break.
These games are supposed to get more realistic every year but within minutes of the second half, Aaron Wan-Bissaka pops up on the left corner of the penalty box, only to see his shot pushed wide. So they’re not there yet.
United make the game safe when Bruno Fernandes knocks the ball home from an almost identical position to Martial.
Former United man Ollie Norwood reintroduces himself to the Old Trafford crowd by hacking down Daniel James, forcing him off injured before another ex-Red, Ravel Morrison, was summoned from the bench by Wilder.
Sheffield United had only lost two league games by more than one goal this season. Make that three. Job done.
West Ham (H)
As a rampant United head to Old Trafford for their final home match of the season, the big news is Marcus Rashford’s return to the bench.
Otherwise, it’s more of the same for Solskjaer’s side, after a win of four straight wins at just the right time.
It’s a shocking first half from United. A completely blunt attacking performance is capped by some abject defending, which allows Mark Noble the freedom of Old Trafford.
The uncapped Englishman makes no mistake and it’s not too difficult to David Moyes greatly enjoying that one on his return to Old Trafford; with the scent of delayed revenge in his nostrils.
Sebastien Haller almost sends the Scot into dreamland early in the second half, before his countryman and opposite number, Martial, jolts into life.
The United number nine sniffs out a second goal in as many games. It was deserved reward for a spell of pressure which saw Paul Pogba and Fernandes denied from range.
United go in search of a winning goal to precede their end-of-season lap of honour but to no avail. 1-1. Two points most definitely dropped at a vital time.
United’s last game of the season is also their toughest remaining. A trip to face Leicester and potential summer transfer target James Maddison.
Rashford starts in place of Mason Greenwood, giving him one match in which to prove his fitness to Gareth Southgate, who will pick him anyway.
His Three Lions team-mate Harry Maguire makes his first return to the King Power Stadium since leaving in August as the world’s most expensive defender.
In a quiet first half, it’s Maguire who makes an acrobatic clearance to deny close pal Jamie Vardy late on in the first half and that’s as close as either side come to a goal before the break.
If Solskjaer liked what his captain did before half time, he’d have loved what Rashford did after just four minutes of the second period.
James fizzed down the right, drilling a low centre across for Rashford to finish to make a goalscoring return to the side, just like Pogba did against Villa.
But if Maddison was auditioning to impress Solskjaer, he did a fine job with just 10 minutes remaining.
The England international smashed home a cut-back from close range and ensured United finished the season with a second straight 1-1 draw.
What does it all mean?
FIFA had United down for keeping their unbeaten run going until the end of the season, scooping five wins and four draws.
That would add 19 points onto United’s current total of 45, meaning the Reds finish on 64.
But would that be enough? We also simulated all of Chelsea’s remaining fixtures on FIFA to find out.
The Blues are currently on 48, and FIFA simulated wins for them at home to Watford and Norwich (both 4-0), away against Villa (4-0), West Ham (3-0) and Sheffield United (2-0).
They drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace, as well as suffering 2-0 losses against Manchester City and Liverpool before another 1-1 at home to Wolves on the final day of the season.
They picked themselves up 17 points, which when added to their existing total of 48 gives them 65 from their 38 games.
That would mean United missing out on the top four by a point! Those two late 1-1 draws cost Solskjaer very dearly indeed…
Let’s hope if the league resumes we have a slightly different outcome.
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