Has Manchester United victory all-but concluded this season's top four battle?

Old Trafford

Manchester United defeated rivals Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday, a result which is good news for Arsenal.

Manchester United ran out 2-1 winners against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, a result which will have huge implications in the race for a top-four finish.

Two goals from Juan Mata either side of half-time were enough for the Red Devils to see off Brendan Rodgers’ side’s late fight-back and snap their impressive 13-game unbeaten Premier League run.

Many observers have been checking the end-of-season run-in and predicting the Premier League’s top four, United being the team envisaged to drop out.

Arsenal haven’t been mentioned as much despite their previously perilous position and that much-analysed momentum swing following their close North London derby defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

Yet, a subsequent six-game winning run, coupled with United seeing off both Spurs and Liverpool in the past week, has surely all-but secured Arsene Wenger’s men a top-four spot.

With just eight games and 24 points left up for grabs, the North Londoners hold a six-point advantage over fifth-placed Liverpool – seven if you consider goal difference – and face the Merseysiders next at the Emirates Stadium.

Six wins would do it for Wenger’s side, but it’s far more likely that just five victories would suffice and in current form would you back against them – especially considering their final three home games are against Swansea City, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion?

If the Reds are to make it, it’s looking increasingly likely it will be at the expense of United, with former player Owen Hargreaves highlighting their tough run-in yesterday.

“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,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

However, Sunday’s result on Merseyside has really swung the tide back in United’s favour and their five-point cushion puts them firmly in the driving seat.

The Reds play five of their remaining eight games away from Anfield and, with games running out, it may now require victories at both the Emirates and Stamford Bridge in order for them to have a chance.

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