Michael Owen believes Manchester United will knock Arsenal out of the race for the Premier League’s top four – if they can beat their old rivals at the Emirates on Sunday.
United travel to North London with a single-point advantage over the Gunners having hauled their way back into the race for the Champions League after a dismal first half of the season.
And former United striker Owen believes that, if his old team can get one over on Unai Emery’s team on Sunday, they will open up a lead that the hosts will struggle to chase down.
“You mustn’t forget or cast your mind back too far, in the North London derby I thought Arsenal were very good against a very good team,” Owen told BT Sport .
“So you can’t get too despondent. Yes Manchester United have snuck ahead of them in the race for fourth place.
“So it’s a huge game for Arsenal, a massive game. But they did play well in their last league game.”
Owen was speaking following the Gunners’ shambolic 3-1 defeat to Rennes in the Europa League, a result that severely dents Emery’s hopes of guiding his team into the Champions League via the back door of winning Europe’s secondary competition.
United used the Europa League route themselves to reach the Champions League in 2016, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final after Jose Mourinho’s side finished sixth in the Premier League
“Tonight was a big disappointment, no getting away from it,” said Owen.
(Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
“But that’s what Arsenal are, they’re an inconsistent team. You never know what team is going to turn up.
“I think it’s really important for Arsenal.
“I think if Manchester United win, go four points clear, then it’s going to be hard for Arsenal.
“Manchester United have got the momentum as well.
“So I don’t think Arsenal can afford to lose the game if they want to get in the top four.”