Manchester United, Arsenal continue Premier League climb with important victories

Manchester United and Arsenal, two Premier League giants, were left for dead in December and looked highly unlikely to contend for European spots. A couple months later, they both look like they could play their way into qualification for continental competition next season. The Red Devils and Gunners greatly boosted those chances on Sunday. 

Manchester United got revenge on Watford by winning 3-0 at Old Trafford, while Arsenal overcame a deficit within the first minute to beat Everton 3-2. Arsenal is the only Premier League team to not have lost in any competition so far in 2020.

Both teams have won back to back matches. 

Here’s a look at what the wins on Sunday mean for each team, where it leaves them and what’s to come:

Manchester United 3, Watford 0

It’s time for United to start dreaming about returning to the Champions League. The victory over Watford, with Bruno Fernandes scoring one and assisting another, has the Red Devils just three points behind fourth-place Chelsea in the battle for UCL qualification. The wild thing is, depending on the final outcome of Manchester City’s UCL ban appeal, United’s current fifth-place spot may actually be worth a Champions League berth. 

At the moment, you’ve got four teams jostling for fifth place: Manchester United, Tottenham, Sheffield United and Wolves. Spurs are struggling without healthy strikers, Sheffield United likely doesn’t have enough to finish fifth and Wolves have been inconsistent domestically, while showing form in Europa League. 

I’m not ready to declare United as the favorite to finish fifth, but things are looking up. The next four league matches will go a long way in determining where the Red Devils finish.

Upcoming schedule

  • at Everton on March 1
  • vs. Manchester City on March 8
  • at Tottenham on March 15
  • vs. Sheffield United on March 21

Arsenal 3, Everton 2

That statistic of Arsenal being the only Premier League team to not have lost in 2020 is true, but so is this one:

Burnley has just as many Premier League wins in the last month (four) as Arsenal has since December 9. So, do you get my point? While the Gunners aren’t losing, they also aren’t willing winning that much. 

Here’s another stat : Mikel Arteta’s team is on back to back victories, but before that they had just two wins in their previous 17 games. 

So the Gunners haven’t been super convincing, but those last six points put them in the conversation for Europa League. In ninth place with 47 points, they are just a point off of sixth. Consider that the team is only four points behind United, which means another couple victories in a row could have them thinking Champions League, especially if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang keeps it up after getting the winner and scoring twice on Sunday. 

Each team still has 11 games to go in the season, so anything can happen. But the Gunners are a team to watch with West Ham, Brighton, Southampton and Norwich City next. A real chance to earn 10 points or more and change their season completely. 

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