Rio Ferdinand has backed Chelsea to come through their tough run-in and secure Champions League football next season and believes Manchester United will join them in the top four.
The race for a place in Europe’s premier club competition will go down to the final day of the season, with United and Leicester City both winning on Thursday night against Crystal Palace and Sheffield United respectively.
It means just one point separates the three teams fighting for the final two places in the top four, though Chelsea – who are currently a point ahead of their rivals – need to take on champions Liverpool and Europa League-chasing Wolves.
United and Leicester, meanwhile, play each other on the final day of the season – meaning one of the sides, or both, will definitely drop points – and Ferdinand expects that fixture will see Chelsea sneak in along with his old club United.
After Robbie Savage suggested Leicester would lose one of their two remaining games during a segment on BT Sport, Ferdinand chimed in: ‘Yeah I agree. I looked at it at first and thought Liverpool and Wolves, which are Chelsea’s games, they’re going to struggle.
‘But I think Chelsea will beat Wolves last day of the season, something to play for. And then I think that West Ham will do Man United a favour.
‘I just think Man United’s run, the way they’ve been playing, they’re scintillating at the moment and I just think they win both their last two games and then they definitely qualify.’
Fellow pundit Owen Hargreaves added: ‘Yeah, I think I’m with the boys. United will beat West Ham and I think they will finish the job against Leicester.
‘But I think obviously with Chelsea they’ve got such tough fixtures, but with United and Leicester playing each other on the last day, I think Chelsea are going to get in.
‘If United and Leicester win their next games and then draw the last one, that’s entirely possible, but Chelsea have got to go to Liverpool.
‘I know they’re not playing as well, but that’s going to be tough. But I think Chelsea and United just get over the line.’