Well that didn’t last for very long. Having already spent 18 weeks of the season in sixth place, Manchester United would have been delighted to have climbed into the top five some three games ago.
But back-to-back draws at Old Trafford against West Brom and Everton, coupled with a midweek victory for Arsenal have seen the Gunners climb back above the Red Devils, sending Jose Mourinho’s men back down to… you guessed it – sixth.
Now four points off the leading quartet, and struggling to turn draws into wins, it’s looking all the more unlikely that United will qualify for the Champions League via their position in the league.
So they should forget about it, because luckily for them there’s another potential route to Europe’s elite competition available to them.
It even ends with them winning a trophy.
Now into the last eight of the Europa League, United are 5/4 favourites to win the competition outright. And rightly so, given they’re by far the strongest team still standing.
Going back to the Premier League, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and co have it all to do. They could win all of their remaining fixtures and their fate still wouldn’t be in their own hands.
That’s not the case in Europe though. And of course, were United to win that competition then it wouldn’t matter where they finished domestically as a result of their Europa League success.
That would also mean they’d replace whoever ended up finishing fourth in the Prem. So the real battle for Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal is for third.
Three points ahead of Everton in seventh with two games in hand over the Toffees, it’s safe to say they won’t be finishing any lower than their current position.
But fans should rethink their ambitions for the remainder of the campaign, and accept sacrificing Premier League success for that on the continent.
With that in mind, there could be some cracking value in the 3/1 our traders are offering for Man United to finish in sixth AND win the Europa League.
But what do fans think? What should Mourinho’s priority?
Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing