Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal have emerged as the title frontrunners and, subsequently, heavily tipped to make up the top three at the end of the season.
Ahead of United’s trip to Villa on Sunday, Unai Emery’s side joined Tottenham in having a comfortable cushion in fifth and fourth, respectively.
The Red Devils entered the weekend having won their last three games and five of their past seven, though, with returning players handing Erik ten Hag a significant boost.
With Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 29 per cent stake expected to be ratified this month, Ten Hag is essentially interviewing for his own job ahead of a huge few months of change under the INEOS banner.
Securing Champions League qualification would go a long way in convincing United’s new hierarchy that he is the man to take the club into a third season under his watch.
And Scholes believes experienced duo Raphael Varane and Casemiro can join forces with Ten Hag’s young stars to help guide United back up the Premier League table.
“They can win a lot of games. It’s important they are in the Champions League.
“I’ve felt in the last two or three weeks, especially with all the players back, I still think they’ve got a chance of top four.
“I think they will get into it because they’ve got a little bit of experience coming back into the team. It’s important.
“They’ve got a lot of young players, we know that, and we’ll talk about the three young players especially, but when you’ve got a Casemiro next to them, when you’ve got a Varane coming in with them as well.
“It makes a big difference to your team. It adds a little bit of quality. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how they play. Sometimes, it’s just having their names around.
“You think about Casemiro, Real Madrid, and people just think all of a sudden, ‘Yeah, they’ve got a proper team playing’.”
Victory at Villa would move United five points off the top five, but defeat would leave them nine adrift.