This could come as a surprise to many but the outcome of the Old Trafford FA Cup quarter final on Saturday may have become a question of whether Manchester United and Arsenal WANT it badly enough! Have a look at the table and you’ll see that while one of the two will still be able to do the double after the weekend, there is also the mathematical possibility that one of them will fail to clinch a Champions League spot! That’s how tight the Premier League race can become during the final few weeks.
As the table stands at the moment, United and Arsenal can get a maximum of 87 points, Chelsea 81, City 80 and Tottenham 78 so one of them faces the prospect of Thursday night Europa League football next season. It’s very unlikely that United or Arsenal will miss out but there are still plenty of points available for the top four positions to change dramatically. Manchester United are still marginal favourites in sports betting odds but anything can happen, and it could all come down to the game at the Emirates later in the season.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was only talking about his side winning four trophies a couple of weeks ago, now they have already been knocked out of two of them so their desire may edge out that of United. While Sir Alex Ferguson has always hated losing anything, priorities must also be uppermost in his mind.
Clinching a record breaking title will be first and foremost followed by securing a top four place, winning the Champions League and the FA Cup running a bad last. A number of injuries to some of his key players will also be a factor in Fergusons equation.
Wenger faces a similar dilemma although laying his hands on any sort of silverware will weigh heavily on his mind following six years of failure to win anything. One thing that both managers will desperately want to avoid is a replay in addition to the large number of crucial fixtures ahead.
I, for one will not shed too many tears if United are only left with the Premier and Champions Leagues to aim for after the weekend, there are times when by chasing everything you can end up with nothing. Sir Alex may not see it that way however because as we all know, the man is one of a kind.
Which side do you expect to show the most hunger to qualify for an FA Cup semi final?