Sport Soccer

Friday 20 April 2018

Manchester City and Manchester United fight to the end for top-four finish

Manchester City and Sergio Aguero will hope to hold off the challenge of Manchester United for fourth place
Manchester City and Sergio Aguero will hope to hold off the challenge of Manchester United for fourth place

Manchester City and Manchester United will go into the final round of the Barclays Premier League season this Sunday fighti ng for fourth place.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses the battle.


Manchester City are fourth with 65 points while United are fifth with 63. City are in control of the situation, knowing victory at Swansea will secure a place in the top four. A superior goal difference (+30 compared to United's +12) means they can also afford a draw. United have to beat Bournemouth at Old Trafford and hope City lose. Sixth-placed West Ham, with 62 points, could yet overtake United and draw level with City but their goal difference (+15) effectively means they have no chance of making the top four.


City, who could still finish as high as third if results go their way, have endured a slump in recent weeks and have won just one of their last four Premier League games. United had won three in four to cut the gap prior to their midweek loss at West Ham. City's overall away form may be a concern, having won just seven of their 18 on the road. United's home form is second only to champions Leicester having won 11 of 18.


Looking at the home and away statistics in more detail, it is clear both sides fare better at home. City have claimed an average of two points per game at the Etihad Stadium compared to 1.5 away. United have taken an average of 2.1 at home and 1.3 away.

United have the best home defensive record in the Premier League, having conceded just eight times (one goal every 18.9 shots) compared to 26 away. That may give them hope of shutting Bournemouth out. City's goalscoring record away from home is the 15th best in the division. They have scored only 23 on their travels (10.7 shots for every goal) compared to 47 at home.


After opening their campaign with five successive wins, City have held a top-four position for virtually the whole season. United took top spot in September but then fell away. They have been trailing City since November and outside the top four since December.


"I think we deserve to be in the Champions League next year because we have had 37 games in a spot of Champions League, so I hope we are not going to lose that spot in the last game. I trust we are going to have our achievement on Sunday." - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

"In the last match of the season we can pass over Manchester City, they can lose and we can win. Then we are fourth. I don't think it is not likely. Against Bournemouth we have to give everything so that we don't give Manchester City a free trip into the Champions League." - Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.


Man City 1/10

Man Utd 11/2

Press Association

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