Victory for Manchester United against Liverpool would have rubber-stamped their qualification for the Champions League ahead of next season.
However, amid iconic protests against the club’s Glazer family ownership, a new date for that Premier League clash has yet to be confirmed.
The scene of fans storming Old Trafford is the most eye-catching indication yet as to how the American owners are viewed by the club’s fan-base.
A triumph for that resistance, perhaps, but with the prospect of sanctions from the Premier League and FA, there is a chance that United could subsequently be hit with a points deduction.
Depending on its severity, it could have a knock-on effect for their top-four chances and, with that, grabbing a spot in the top European competition for next season.
Here, we take a closer look at United’s run-in and how it compares to the chasing pack;
2nd: Manchester United, 67 points:
- May 9: Aston Villa (A)
- May 12: Leicester City (H)
- May 19: Fulham (H)
- May 23: Wolves (A)
- TBC: Liverpool (H)
3rd: Leicester City, 63 points
- May 7: Newcastle United (H)
- May 12: Manchester United (A)
- May 19: Chelsea (A)
- May 23: Tottenham (H)
Despite falling away at a similar stage last season, the Foxes remain favourites to join both Manchester clubs in the Champions League.
In that sense, Leicester would not directly benefit from a points deduction as such – but they do have a testing final stretch to come, including fixtures against United, Chelsea and Tottenham.
4th: Chelsea, 61 points
May 8: Manchester City (A)
May 12: Arsenal (H)
May 19: Leicester City (H)
May 23: Aston Villa (A)
It looked for all the world that Chelsea were going to miss out on top-four this campaign. That was until Thomas Tuchel was appointed to turn their fortunes around.
A five-point cushion on Spurs represents a healthy-enough advantage, but West Ham and Liverpool can close up that gap by winning their respective games in hand.
5th: Tottenham, 56 points
May 8: Leeds United (A)
May 16: Wolves (H)
May 19: Aston Villa (H)
May 23: Leicester City (A)
Even victory in each of their last four matches might not be enough for Tottenham unless, of course, United are hit with a sizable (if unlikely) points deduction.
Their run-in appears more favourable, on paper, than some of the other sides around them, but a final day outing to Leicester will be no straightforward task at all.
6th: West Ham, 55 points
May 3: Burnley (A)
May 9: Everton (H)
May 15: Brighton (A)
May 19: West Brom (A)
May 23: Southampton (H)
Whatever happens between now and the summer, it’s been a hugely memorable season for West Ham under their former United manager David Moyes.
Jesse Lingard has given the Hammers fresh impetus in attacking quarters following his loan move from Old Trafford, while victory at Burnley tonight would put them firmly back in the top-four mix.
Sign up to our free United newsletter
Get the latest breaking Manchester United transfer news and analysis every day direct to your inbox with our free MUFC newsletter
7th: Liverpool, 54 points
May 8: Southampton (H)
May 16: West Brom (A)
May 19: Burnley (A)
May 23: Crystal Palace (H)
TBC: Manchester United (A)
Boasting, perhaps, the least challenging final sequence of the lot, Liverpool may yet make amends for surrendering their maiden Premier League title by qualifying for the Champions League.
Protests denied them a chance to confirm Manchester City’s third crown in four years, but that rescheduled contest against their arch rivals marks a solitary end-of-season meeting with a side from the top half of the standings.
The verdict: Although the threat of a points deduction is genuine, you would think that it remains unlikely that United will have the book thrown at them on this occasion. In any case, it would have to be a monumental figure to derail their hopes of clinching a place in the top-four. Indeed, even IF they were deducted eight points by the Premier League, to offer an extreme example, it will still leave them three clear of fifth-placed Tottenham; with a game in hand and only two fixtures against the top-ten to come.