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I’d say it was pretty simple really. If you’re playing against a team you know you will be competing with at the end of the season then a game against them is usually ‘must win’ for the simple fact it means they get 0 points and you get 3. Yes there are another 36 games to go and you could lose and still survive, but at the start of the season when you plan your season you will mark that game as ‘must win’.
On the other side of the coin, Man Utd would see games against the lesser clubs as ‘must win’ otherwise they’ll fail to win the title. What they get off the sides around them is a bonus. If they were to drop points against the lesser sides, then their games against Man City and the like would become ‘must win’. IE – City will see their trip to OT as ‘must win’.