Gary Neville has backed Manchester United to finish above Arsenal
Gary Neville has backed Manchester United to finish above Arsenal (Pictures: Getty/Sky Sports)

Gary Neville has backed Manchester United to beat Arsenal to the final Premier League top-four spot despite their demoralising Champions League exit.

Ralf Rangnick’s side were knocked out of Europe by Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night, leaving the Red Devils to focus on their top-four aspirations as they look to at least partially save their season.

Manchester United are fifth with nine league games remaining, one point behind Arsenal who lost 2-0 to title contenders Liverpool last night.

Despite Arsenal’s setback, they are still the favourites to finish fourth ahead of United, Tottenham and West Ham as they have at least one game in hand over all of their top-four rivals.

But Neville believes there will be a twist in the top-four race and is backing Manchester United to recover from their Champions League exit and steal fourth spot from the Gunners.

‘It was a really bad night for Manchester United,’ Sky Sports pundit Neville said in reference to the Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid.

‘However, I don’t know why but I still think they could finish fourth. Whether that’s wild hope or the devil in me… but I still think they could do it and Arsenal might drop out.

United were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid
United were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid (Picture: Getty)

‘It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t and if Arsenal finished fourth you’d have to congratulate them. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if United got it.

‘If I was a betting man, which I’m not, I would probably go for Manchester United. I don’t know why, but there’s something about them that makes me think they will do it.’

While Arsenal and Manchester United are virtually neck and neck in the race for fourth, Tottenham and West Ham are also firmly in the mix, sitting just three and two points behind the Gunners and Red Devils.

West Ham occupied fourth for much of the season but their results have begun to fall away in recent weeks and they also have the distraction of Europa League football.

Antonio Conte’s Tottenham suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend but returned to winning ways against Brighton on Wednesday.

While Arsenal dropped points at home to Liverpool, Arteta’s side are still on track to finish in the top-four, according to former Premier League defender Jonathan Woodgate.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily: ‘If you look at the form and how well they are playing, this was their first defeat in a while. They have won their last five games and have been playing really well.

‘If Arsenal finish fourth this season it has been an outstanding season, considering they haven’t been in the Champions League for the last five seasons.

‘When I heard that, I couldn’t believe it because in the 2000s they were a top team winning the league, they were always in the Champions League but that’s faded.

‘Mikel Arteta has had to pick this club up and go with it and do what he believes in.

‘He’s made huge decisions with big players and he’s starting to see the benefit of that but it will take a few more years and cycles before this team comes to the fore.’

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