Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand has made a fresh prediction over where the Red Devils will finish this season after Arsenal and Man City lost at the weekend.
The Red Devils move to within three points of arch-rivals City after beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday despite going down to ten men after Casemiro was sent off in the second half.
Arsenal came unstuck against Everton, who beat the Gunners in Sean Dyche’s first match in charge, and Man Utd are now eight points behind Mikel Arteta’s men.
The Gunners do have a game in hand on both Man City and Man Utd and Ferdinand explains why he can only see a third-place finish for the Red Devils.
“I think Manchester United will finish in the top four quite comfortably now,” Ferdinand told William Hill.
“A lot of the other clubs around them aren’t being as consistent as them, while United have been picking up results.
“They’re still a bit off Arsenal and Manchester City, but I can see United finishing in that third spot in the Premier League this season, tying that up and really making that position their own.
“Having qualified for the League Cup final last week, that should give United plenty of confidence going into the coming games, knowing they have that to look forward to.
“Players will now be playing for their position as everyone wants to play in a final, so no player can afford to drop their form or take their foot off the gas.
“Every game is an audition now to get in that starting XI. So I’m sure all of them will be going for their positions and hoping to start in the final, which will raise competition in the team.”
Jadon Sancho made his first appearance for Man Utd since October in the Red Devils’ 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in their League Cup semi-final after Erik ten Hag said the winger had been struggling physically and mentally earlier in the season.
Ferdinand added: “Jadon Sancho is back in the squad and if he can get back playing to his best it will be like a new signing for the club.
“If you get someone like him, with the talent he has, playing to his best, he’s a threat for any team – his ability to cause defenders problems.
“In the short-term it also makes United a lot more competitive in general. The United bench over the last month hasn’t been at its most strongest so having Sancho back gives Erik ten Hag a new option to turn to in the coming weeks.
“He didn’t come on against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but the manager will be turning to him in the coming weeks so he’ll have the opportunities to build up some form.”