It appeared as those the final top-four spot would go to one of the north London clubs after United dropped points in six of their last nine games ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures.
Arsenal emerged as the favourites to finish fourth after impressing under Mikel Arteta but the Gunners have lost their last three games without scoring to slip to sixth, three points behind fourth-placed Spurs with a game in hand.
With Arsenal threatening to fall away, Tottenham could have climbed six points clear of their top-four rivals but Antonio Conte’s side were beaten 1-0 by Brighton in Saturday’s early fixture.
With Manchester United subsequently beating Norwich City 3-2 thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick, the three clubs are now separated by just three points, while West Ham will look to renew their top-four hopes on Sunday when they host struggling Burnley, who sacked Sean Dyche on Friday.
Former England star Hargreaves fears for Arsenal due to their tough run of fixtures and expects United’s ‘inconsistency’ to rear its head before the end of the season, leaving Tottenham to clinch the final Champions League spot.
‘Fixture-wise, it’s tough for Arsenal,’ he said on Premier League Productions. ‘They struggled against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton.
‘They’ve got Chelsea, Man United, West Ham, Leeds and Tottenham coming up. Looking at Arsenal’s fixtures I’m saying no.
‘I know they’re close but if you’re losing and not scoring against Palace, Brighton and Southampton, you’re going to struggle. It’s made it really difficult for them.
‘Tottenham are still in the driving seat because they’re ahead. Arsenal have that game in hand but I think Arsenal will fall short with the fixtures they’ve got.
‘Manchester United are just too inconsistent. Tottenham should be able to get the job done.’
Ex-England striker Darren Bent agreed with Hargreaves’ assessment, adding: ‘You can’t rule Arsenal out because as we’ve seen, the teams around them are inconsistent. Spurs are inconsistent, so are United.
‘Arsenal have still got the opportunity but they need to find some consistent form from somewhere. You can’t be losing three games in a row.
‘After that run they shouldn’t really been anywhere near it but the fact is they are because the race for the top-four has been so poor.
‘We’ve seen that Tottenham are capable of going on a run and I expect them to do that. It’s still in Spurs’ hands because Arsenal and United are so inconsistent.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.