We used to laugh at Arsenal in the dressing room – now Manchester United have made the same error

Former Manchester United star Andy Cole has compared his former club’s current ambitions to Arsenal from his time as a player.

United have lost their last two Premier League matches against Man City and Fulham. Those defeats have seen the Reds lose ground in the race to finish in the top four position and secure Champions League football.

It’s possible that a fifth-place finish could also secure a spot in the Champions League next season. However, that will depend on England’s UEFA coefficient compared to their European rivals from Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

Erik ten Hag will now be busy preparing United to face Everton at Old Trafford in the Premier League this Saturday. With Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur both meeting a day later, the Reds have the opportunity to gain ground on at least one of their top-four rivals with a victory over the Toffees.
At the top of the table, it’s Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal who are battling to win the league title this season. Cole, who won five Premier League titles with United, has explained what believes has to happen for his former club to finish in the top four.

“It’s very, very tough. Manchester United would have to win their last 11 league games in my opinion to have a chance of finishing in the top four,” said Cole.

“They will also have to hope that Aston Villa and Tottenham lose a couple of games too for that to happen. Can we honestly see either of them losing four games between now and the end of the season? It’s unlikely.”

Cole also compared United’s current aspirations to Arsenal’s during his time as a player at Old Trafford. The former striker says that United would “laugh” at the Gunners for celebrating a top-four finish in the past.

“Manchester United just have to try and finish as high up in the table as they can,” Cole told Betfred.

“I know there’s a chance of fifth place qualifying for the Champions League this season, but when we were playing and we saw Arsenal celebrate qualifying for the Champions League, and I say this with no disrespect intended, we used to laugh at them.

“If you’re not winning the Premier League, then why are you celebrating? Come on, this is Manchester United.”

United struggled to make much of an impact against Manchester City on Sunday, despite taking an early lead through Marcus Rashford. City dominated possession after that and Ten Hag’s side were forced further and further back, not having a shot on goal after the 23rd minute as they desperately tried to hold on and hit on the counter attack.

It’s a style Cole isn’t comfortable with, having played in teams under Sir Alex Ferguson that dominated sides and took the game to them.

He added: “It was what it was. They showed fight and endeavour, but you’ve got to be very honest and say that the better team won and they won comfortably in the end.

“I don’t know what people were expecting. I don’t know if they were expecting Manchester United to go there [the Etihad] and get a shock win. If they had got a draw there, then it would have been an incredible result. However, Manchester United showed fight and spirit, so in the end, what more can you ask for in a derby?

“If you look at Manchester United this season, they’ve played a lot of counter attacking football and we’re not used to them playing that way over the years because we expect to see a Manchester United team get on the ball and dominate games. I think that just shows you how big the gap is now.

“I’m not quite sure that the gap’s closing because if it was, then they would have gone to the Etihad and tried to play Manchester City at their own game.”

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