Paul Scholes makes Man Utd top-four prediction & shares controversial Aston Villa opinion
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Paul Scholes has said Sunday’s clash between Manchester United and Aston Villa will go a long way to deciding the top-four picture but has predicted his former side will overturn the points deficit and qualify for the Champions League.
For that to happen, United would have to leapfrog Villa and Tottenham Hotspur into fourth - although fifth could still guarantee a place in the Champions League. Erik ten Hag’s side would fall 11 points behind fourth-place Villa if they lose in Sunday’s game. But should United come away from Villa Park with a victory, the gap to the Spurs would be just six points, and they’d trail Villa by five.
Therefore, it’s a hugely important game between an improving Red Devils and a Villa side who have overachieved this season but stuttered in recent weeks. With momentum building behind United and players returning from injury, Scholes thinks his former club will catch Villa over the coming months.
“Top four is still possible,” the former midfielder told the Premier League. “It’s a long way to go to get towards that and if they get beat, it’s 11 points - you think it’s too far.
“Villa are a good team but I think they’re still capable of going on a run that’s bad that can help United. I think United, with players coming back into the team, I think they can be more consistent now towards the end of the season and I think they can win a lot of games.
“It’s important they are in those Champions League places. I don’t think many people will fancy them to do that, even if they win today it’s five points and Tottenham are going well. But I’ve felt, the last two or three weeks especially, with the players back, I still feel they have a chance at top four. I think they will get into it because they have experience coming back into the team.
“They have a lot of young players and we talk about the three young players [Kobbie Maino, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund], but when you have a Casemiro next to them and [Raphael] Varane coming in with them, it makes a big difference and adds a bit of quality to the team.
“Sometimes it doesn’t matter how they play, sometimes it’s just having those names around you. You think of Casemiro, Real Madrid, and sometimes people look and the teamsheet and think ‘they have a proper team playing today’. It’s all about getting into that Champions League, and today will go a long way to deciding if they can do it.”