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04th Apr 2015

Arsenal vs Liverpool: What’s the best result for United?

Maybe they could both lose...

Nooruddean Choudry

Arsenal host Liverpool in a high noon encounter that could go a long way to deciding the respective fates of both clubs. Meanwhile, Manchester United will also be watching on with interest…

The Red Devils lie fourth – sandwiched between the two sides – and will know by the time they kick off at home to Aston Villa how the Emirates result has impacted on their situation.

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo

But what is the best case scenario for the Old Trafford club? A home win, an away victory, or a stalemate? We run the rule over the possible permutations…

The current situation:


Thanks to a pivotal result at Anfield, there is currently a five-point gap between Manchester United and Liverpool. This could easily disappear in coming weeks but it gives United some vital breathing space. Manchester City and Arsenal also remain well within their sights.

An Arsenal victory:


Assuming Arsenal prevail at home and United beat Aston Villa later in the day, this opens up an eight-point gap between the Mancs and the Scousers.

With seven games remaining that would be a huge margin to haul back. It would also see both Arsenal and United leapfrog Manchester City before the Blues’ tricky away fixture at Selhurst Park on Monday.

A Liverpool victory:


Were Liverpool to take maximum points (and United do the same), it would propel the Red Devils to second in the league, until Monday evening at least.

It would improve their chances of finishing in the top three, thus avoiding qualification for the Champions League group stages, but also make top four less certain with Liverpool still hovering five points behind.

A draw:


A stalemate in North London, followed by a United victory, would again move the Manchester club into second place before City’s game at Crystal Palace on Easter Monday.

It would mean they were one point clear of Arsenal and seven points ahead of Liverpool. But with a run-in including City (H), Chelsea (A), Everton (A) and Arsenal (H), nothing would be guaranteed for Van Gaal’s men.

In summary:

Each of these ramifications assume that Manchester United will beat Aston Villa at home. That is clearly a big assumption as Villa have developed a new resilience under Tim Sherwood and United have struggled in a number of games they’ve been expected to win.

An Arsenal victory would make a top four finish more secure, whilst a Liverpool victory would make a Champions League spot less certain despite increasing United’s chances of finishing second or third. It all depends on whether you’re a natural optimist or prone to pessimism; the security of fourth or the prospect of finishing higher.

Manchester United v Swansea City - Premier League : News Photo

A draw could be seen as the best of both worlds, but also a less than ideal result for either looking ambitiously through the windscreen, or pensively at the rear-view mirror.

It is certainly a conundrum for Louis Van Gaal’s Red and White Army, but one thing is for certain – any outcome will be an opportunity wasted if United don’t capitalise at home later in the day.