Three reasons why Chelsea clash matters more for Manchester United
Manchester United face Chelsea tonight in a Premier League game which has rarely mattered less to both teams in recent memory.
United are almost certain to miss out on Champions League football next season, currently sitting in sixth position.
Chelsea meanwhile sit third, adrift of the top two, and pretty much guaranteed a top four spot.
If anyone has reason to be anxious though, it is Manchester United. This match does have wider implications for the Red Devils, which we will lay out below…
Avoid the Europa Conference League
Fifth or sixth place will get Europa League football, while seventh will drop into the Europa Conference League, a competition which would be fairly humiliating to enter.
It would be better to finish down in eighth place and miss out on Europe altogether, but this does not look likely, with Wolves six points below us.
West Ham meanwhile are in seventh, just two points behind Manchester United. A slip-up against Chelsea makes it possible they could overtake us, and drop us down into the Conference League spot.
A win against Chelsea will give us some extra breathing room ahead of the final three remaining games.
Save the final month
United’s final games are tricky ones, at home to an awkward Brentford side, and away at Brighton and Crystal Palace.
Former star Gary Pallister spoke this week about how United should set a target to win all four of the last four games. A victory over Chelsea would set the tone.
United have lost two matches in a row now against Liverpool and Arsenal, but both of these came away from home. It’s important for the club to keep the fans engaged.
Most supporters have mentally checked out from this season, understandably. A loss against Chelsea would reinforce this.
The end to the season could become a real slog, beyond what it is already. Beating Chelsea would give United a real lift, at a time when one is needed.
Players fighting for their futures
United’s players should have some professional pride. They need this win, far more than Chelsea do.
Incoming manager Erik ten Hag will be reviewing the tapes of all these games, and United’s players should know it.
There are several stars who are fighting for their futures, and if this doesn’t inspire them, then their prospects for next season doesn’t look good.
Chelsea meanwhile are settled under Thomas Tuchel, with many of their players in a comfort zone. It is a luxury United’s under-pressure performers cannot afford.