Manchester United host West Ham tomorrow night in the knowledge that a win will put the team in a commanding spot to clinch a Champions League place on the final day.
It sounds simple, but it may not be. West Ham have hit a little bit of form, scoring seven goals in their last two games.
For them, getting the chance to ruin Manchester United’s season will be seen as an opportunity to make headlines.
West Ham after all have done it before. 25 years ago at their now demolished old stadium Upton Park.
United needed a win away at West Ham to clinch the title in 1995, with Blackburn simultaneously losing to Liverpool.
Instead all we could manage was a 1-1 draw, and Blackburn were crowned champions.
Just hearing the name of then Hammers goalkeeper Ludo Miklosko will sends shivers down the spines of United supporters.
For the away fans in the stadium hoping to celebrate a title that day, the experience at Upton Park was a truly miserable experience, with West Ham fans gloating in United’s misfortune.
Three years earlier in 1992, a defeat for United against West Ham gave Leeds a decisive title edge in that year’s title race.
So the Hammers have history of hurting United when it matters, and that will make supporters who remember both matches feel nervous ahead of tonight.
A lot on the line
While it is not a Premier League title on the line this time, United need to secure a Champions League place to move forward as a club.
A top four place will be a significant boost financially, and help our transfer aims, which in turn will push us closer to a Premier League title challenge next season.
A home match against 15th placed West Ham is as kind a fixture as United could have asked for in the circumstances, but that does not mean it will be easy.
This Manchester United team are yet to prove they can win when it really matters, and are reeling from a FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea.
United can still undo any damage done by a bad result against West Ham with the final league game away to Leicester, but we would rather not have to head to the King Power knowing it is three points or bust.
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