Manchester United: Four fixtures that could define the club’s campaign from now till the end of the season

As Manchester United sit in fifth place within the league, they are currently four points behind fourth-place Liverpool but have two games in hand to play, which are against Manchester City and Southampton.

Despite a few downfalls here and there, Jose Mourinho’s side are on an 18-match unbeaten run in the league and are also in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. With the main target of bringing Champions League nights back to Old Trafford, it would be another season of failure if that’s not the outcome in the end.

These four vital fixtures for Mourinho’s men ahead of the last two months of league football could decide towards whether the team will finish in the top four or not…

Everton

Since the arrival of Ronald Koeman at Goodison Park, Everton have started to enjoy football once again and are aiming to finish in the Europa League spot this season. Level with Arsenal on 50 points in the league table, the Toffees look to have a fantastic project going on under the Dutchman. In recent years, Everton have also been regarded as Manchester United’s bogey team with the few upsets that they have caused.

In the last meeting between both sides, the Red Devils took the lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic but the goal was cancelled out by Leighton Baines, who scored from the penalty spot a few minutes before full-time. With only two points separating one from another, the match will be seen as an important one given that there is still a lot to be played for.

Burnley

Sean Dyche’s Burnley are a tough team to beat at home, having only lost three league games at Turf Moor so far this campaign. Completing important victories at home against the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Southampton, the Clarets are in clear position to play Premier League football for another season. However, Burnley have been struggling a bit in recent weeks as they have failed to manage a league win in their last five league games.

Given that Dyche’s men have one of the best records in the league at home and Mourinho’s side have the third best away record, the game will certainly be one to keep an eye out for on that weekend. Also, the Red Devils will be facing Anderlecht in the Europa League three days before the trip to Burnley, so the manager will have to work out a way to rotate his squad for both games.

Manchester City

With the Manchester derby now being played on the 27th of April, the game will be watched by millions of people worldwide as the battle between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola continues. Both managers were expected to take make an instant impact at their respective clubs, on the other hand, they have found out the hard way that it takes at least one season to settle in before all the success comes in.

The previous head-to-head resulted in a 2-1 victory for Guardiola’s side at Old Trafford, with the goals coming from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho before half-time. Ibrahimovic pulled one back to give United a lifeline, but the job was already done by the Blue side of Manchester. Yet to lose a league game in 2017, Mourinho will be looking to get a revenge of sorts and most importantly, the win that could take them into the top four.

Arsenal

There’s no doubt that the rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal has been one of the most interesting and competitive ones since the late 1990s. However, following the arrival of Mourinho to the Red Devils, the rivalry has been taken to the next level due to the ongoing war that the Portuguese international has with Arsenal and Arsene Wenger from his early days as a Chelsea manager.

Meanwhile, focusing on the current situation, both teams are not in the top four at the moment and they’ll be aiming to do whatever it takes to snatch all three points from one another. Given that the fixture could possibly play a key factor towards which side will finish in the Champions League spot come the end of the season, the match is without a doubt regarded as a difficult one to predict.

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