Man Utd face a difficult battle if they are to secure a top-four place in the Premier League but could have a key advantage over Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal
It is set to be a tense finale to the Premier League season as Manchester United battle for a top-four finish.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have defied the odds to revitalise any chances of automatic Champions League qualification and the club are in with a realistic chance of finishing fourth with just eight matches to go.
Four teams are battling for just two places, and something has to give.
Tottenham currently occupy third place, with Arsenal in fourth while United and Chelsea are each just one win away from potentially leapfrogging either of their domestic rivals.
However, United potentially have a crucial advantage over three of their rivals in the battle to finish in a Champions League spot at the end of the season.
Supporters would be forgiven for letting out a loud sigh when they saw the news Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku have withdrawn from their respective national squads through injury. Three of the most consistent performers this season are out of the national set-up and the full extent of their lay-offs remains to be seen.
The trio of setbacks might be bad news for supporters in need of a vague interest in the upcoming international fixture schedule, but it might just come as a blessing for Solskjaer and his coaching staff.
That is because his withdrawal means United now have just six players away with their national sides over the upcoming break, a clear advantage when compared with some rivals.
Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly, Scott McTominay, Antonio Valencia and David de Gea are all away with their respective nations but it wouldn’t be a surprise if some of their individual game time is limited.
In contrast, both Tottenham and Chelsea have 11 of their first-team squad away with international squads over the next week or so as Mauricio Pochettino and Maurizio Sarri both cross their fingers for now significant injury blows.
Of course the same can be said for United, but the fact they have beaten Paris Saint-Germain away from home with ten senior players missing from the squad might ease such contrasting fears.
Arsenal also have 11 players away over the international break, but importantly for them the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Denis Suarez and Mesut Ozil won’t be in action.