Owen Hargreaves makes top four U-turn, now backs this club to miss out

Premier League

BT pundit Owen Hargreaves predicts the outcome for Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Former Manchester United player Owen Hargreaves believes the Red Devils will now miss out on the top four, three months after predicting them to finish third, the Daily Mail report.

The BT Sport pundit has been assessing United’s top-four chances ahead of their crucial trip to Anfield on Sunday to take on an in-forms Reds side brimming with confidence.

Three months prior to this weekend’s encounter, the gap between the two clubs was as many as 10 points after United’s 3-0 defeat to the Reds 3-0 in December, prompting Hargreaves to claim then:

"I think they'll [United] be happy with Champions League football because I think the other teams in and around are struggling considerably, I mean Arsenal, Liverpool,” he told The Independent.

“I think they'll finish third. I think Chelsea will win the league and Manchester City will push them close. United will finish third and Arsenal probably fourth.”

However, since that day the Merseysiders have embarked on a 13-game unbeaten run, while fellow top-four rivals Arsenal have notched nine Premier League wins in 10.

As a result, the Gunners have stormed into third place while United’s previous 10-point gap over their old rivals has been cut to just two and, on current form, Hargreaves is now backing his former team to miss out on the Champions League prizes.

“Chelsea I think will finish top. They’ve strengthened their team better than anybody else and they’ll prove they’re the best, which they have been all season,” Hargreaves was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

“Manchester United have the hardest run in of the lot. Before today (Saturday) I would have said that they would finish fourth but looking through all the fixtures, I really think it favours Liverpool.

“As much as it pains me to say, I think they’re going to struggle to finish in the top four with those remaining fixtures.”

Aside from a trip to Anfield, Louis van Gaal’s men still have to go to Chelsea and Everton, while they also host the Gunners in the penultimate game of the season.

The Reds, in contrast, have a kinder run-in, encouraging fellow BT pundit Steve McManaman to echo Hargreaves’ thoughts and tip the Old Trafford outfit to fall just short.

“I completely agree with Owen. Manchester United’s fixtures are very difficult. Liverpool have a huge game tomorrow (Sunday). They’re at home, they have the advantage, they have the form,” said McManaman.

“If they win on Sunday I think it will cement them even more in the Champions League places. With their run in I think Liverpool will finish in the top four.”

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