Manchester United: Can United Pip Noisy Neighbors To Europe?

Manchester United players
Marcus Rashford, left, at Old Trafford, Manchester, February 28. United is just two points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Laurence Griffiths/Getty

As the legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson put it in 2003, it's "squeaky-bum time" now for both Manchester clubs.

Ferguson was referring to the title-race between his dominant United side and Arsenal, eventually won by the Red Devils.

For Louis van Gaal, the current boss at Old Trafford, however, the race is for the coveted fourth spot in the Premier League that brings Champions League football.

Manchester City's slip-up on Sunday —a 2-2 draw with Arsenal—leaves United to decide its own destiny. Van Gaal's side trails City by two points but has a game in hand against West Ham United on Tuesday.

While the Hammers' European hopes have all but faded, the fixture will be the last played at Upton Park, West Ham's home of 112 years, before moving to the Olympic Stadium from next season.

United will want to ruin the farewell party, though. Five wins in six matches see United travel to east London in impressive form, while West Ham lost 4-1 at home to Swansea on Saturday.

Should Van Gaal's team come away victorious, United will go into the final game of the season one point ahead of City. The squeaking will be all City's.

With Pellegrini's side heading to Wales to face Swansea City, and United welcoming Bournemouth to Old Trafford, Van Gaal's team would need to take as many points as their rivals to ensure a Champions League place.

It would condemn City to the Europa League for the first season of Pep Guardiola's reign, as he the two-time Champions League winner takes over from Pellegrini.

The noisy neighbors would be silenced.