Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham can keep the plot line crackling until the end of the season, but all lack the strength in depth that will favour United’s hopes

Anthony Martial played the pass, Edinson Cavani timed his run to deliver the cross and there was Marcus Rashford to sweep home, the stoppage-time goal giving Manchester United a 1-0 win over West Ham last Saturday and sparking wild scenes at Old Trafford.

“Manchester United are targeting West Ham’s top-four place,” roared the TV commentator. “Going Fourth,” declared the front page of the following day’s Observer Sport. And the first thing to say is this was not how United had imagined it at the start of the season.

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