Top four race
Chelsea’s failure to beat – man Arsenal on Tuesday night again opened the door for Manchester United to capitalise in what isn’t likely to go down as a top four race for the ages.
Frank Lampard’s side have been stuttering since late November, dropping points in their last
The top four has been there for United this season, but their failure to grasp an opportunity that has been gifted to them shows just how far off the pace this squad is.
United are points worse off than they were after 25 games of last season. This is a team that’s going backwards, not forward. Fortune has favored them this season, it has given them the chance to qualify for the Champions League with what will undoubtedly be the lowest points total to claim fourth the Premier League has seen, but on this evidence they aren’t good enough to achieve it .
Chelsea have done their best to open the door for United, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have so far only managed to walk into the wall. It’s difficult to see how that will change over the next 22 games. United ended this defeat against Burnley one goal against away from dropping to sixth, behind Tottenham on goals scored.
Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal will all expect to improve significantly next season under Lampard, Jose Mourinho and Mikel Arteta. United will have to find plenty of improvement of their own, or they will be left behind.
One positive for United was the impact of Aaron Wan-Bissaka down the right-hand side. For much of the first half, in particular, he was the best attacking weapon, regularly finding space deep in Burnley territory and on three occasions he put in crosses that could have been converted by Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Daniel James.
Wan-Bissaka has often played behind James on the right wing this season, with the Wales attacker often staying wide on the right rather than cutting in and therefore denying the full-back space to get forward.