Manchester United have made a habit of dropping out of the Champions League every two or three seasons and Erik ten Hag will be desperate to avoid another campaign outside of Europe’s fine dining table.
The Dutchman inherited a side that narrowly qualified for this season’s Europa League, having qualified for the Champions League in back-to-back seasons prior to that.
Ten Hag’s objective this season will be to reinstate United in the Champions League and despite a rocky start to the campaign, he’s starting to guide them on the right path.
Ahead of this year’s domestic curtain-raiser, United were far from favourites to finish in the top four but there is now confidence that the Reds have positioned them well to be in the conversation.
That optimism is, however, not shared by supercomputer FiveThirtyEight, which predicts the outcome of the Premier League based on a number of factors.
The data-based website predicts the outcome of the entire season after each round of games and this week, they have maintained that Ten Hag will not be able to build on United’s sixth-placed finish.
As per their standings, United will finish sixth in back-to-back seasons and gain just three more points, finishing on 61 this year as opposed to 58 last term, which was United’s worst-ever tally.
Chelsea will join United as the two big sides to miss out on Champions League qualification, with Tottenham finishing fourth. Antonio Conte’s men are predicted to hold an eight-point advantage on the Reds.
Arsenal are predicted to finish third, Liverpool are in second and Manchester City are projected to seal a third consecutive Premier League title on 87 points – 26 more than United.