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Gary Neville has picked out a worrying Manchester United trend that could work to Arsenal’s advantage in the top four race.
After moving ahead of the Red Devils in the Premier League table thanks to a 3-2 win over Watford, the Gunners were able to end the weekend in the Champions League places thanks to Pep Guardiola’s side coming out on top in the Manchester derby a few hours later.
A brace apiece from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez sealed an emphatic win for Man City and Neville did not hold back when analysing Man United’s performance – even whilst on co-commentary duty for Sky Sports.
“Manchester United finished that game as an absolute shower, they were a disgrace in the final 25 minutes, the first time they’ve come up against a proper team (under Rangnick) and they’ve been given a proper doing,” he said before the final whistle blew.
“It’s not his (Rangnick) fault, he won’t be here next season in the dugout, who will.
“I’d be absolutely stunned if Ralf Rangnick was in charge permanently next season. United needs a long-term top manager, a new CEO. Whether Rangnick will have a say in the next manager who knows.
“There can be no complaints, Man City have been absolutely brilliant in the second half, as a United fan I’m embarrassed.”
And upon joining Roy Keane, Micah Richards and Jamie Redknapp in the studio shortly after the game ended for more post-match analysis, Neville’s mood hadn’t improved much.
In fact, he went as far as to highlight the one problem that could stop his former club from qualifying for the Champions League next season.
“Anytime United play a half decent team they get beat, so City won’t get too excited after that result,” he pointed out.
The ‘half decent’ teams Neville appeared to be referring to are those who are in the top eight of the Premier League table as he highlighted that United also lost to Wolves under Rangnick’s stewardship.
“Over the last 2-3 months, United have overcome their injuries, playing against a team where they don’t need to perform well to get a good result,” he added, as per @manutd_world on Twitter.
“The only two teams they have played against are City and Wolves, and in both games they struggled.”
Of course, prior to Rangnick’s appointment on an interim basis United did record wins over Wolves, Tottenham Hotspur as well as Arsenal and took a point off Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
But if Neville’s suspicions about the Red Devils under the German tactician are true then it’s a worrying sign and potentially damaging to their hopes of winning the top four race.
Of United’s remaining 10 Premier League games of the season, four of which are against teams currently in the top eight of the table.
This includes a trip to Anfield to face a Liverpool side with eyes on hunting down Man City and regaining the title they won in 2019/2020 and welcoming Spurs to Old Trafford this weekend.
Furthermore, the Arsenal vs Man United showdown from the Emirates Stadium is penciled in for the penultimate weekend of April and the Man United vs Chelsea game just so happens to be their final home game of the season.
Should United continue to struggle against teams in the top eight then the Gunners must place themselves in a good position to captialise on any more dropped points.
With Mikel Arteta’s side still having to face Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham United and Man United, they’ll need to make the most of any advantages that fall their way in order to hang on to fourth place.
With that said, despite exposing United’s biggest weakness, Neville is still predicting Arsenal to fall short in the top four race.
“I think United will still do it (finish in the top four),” he said. “I don’t trust Arsenal fully.
“I think it would be brilliant for Mikel Arteta and that group of players if they did, it would be fantastic, but they’ve still got some big games to play and there’s a long way to go.”