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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Arsenal Highlights

Some old and new goals from this week our opposition. No matter what I am sure Red Devils will beat them again..

Manchester Untied Vs. Arsenal Match Preview

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will face Arsenal despite needing three stitches in his foot in midweek.

Ferdinand suffered the injury in the victory against Roma in the Champions League at Old Trafford.

The foot was also swollen but manager Sir Alex Ferguson expects him to recover in time for the match against their title rivals.

Patrice Evra could return at left-back after missing the European game with a knock.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are expected to be restored to the side after being on the bench against Roma.

Ferguson believes there is much more to Owen Hargreaves' game than a holding role in midfield.

Hargreaves built his reputation at Bayern Munich as someone who could break up the play.

His unselfish performances for the German giants did not go unnoticed and he secured an £17million move to United in the summer.

Hargreaves, though, has taken time to settle - mainly because of a nagging knee problem.

However, he lit up Old Trafford in midweek with marauding runs down the right flank in the absence of Ronaldo.

Hargreaves set up the goal for Carlos Tevez, which sealed a 3-0 aggregate win over Roma in the Champions League, with a cross that David Beckham would have been proud of.

He is now pushing for a place in the starting line-up against Arsenal and Ferguson feels the England international has a lot to offer.

He said: "I wanted to leave Paul Scholes out against Roma and play with three central midfielders.

"Owen was given a different type of role, which he absolutely excelled at. He was our star man.

"There are a variety of roles Owen can play, without question. He has the intelligence and application to adapt.''

While Ferguson is on a high after his side set up a meeting with Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, his managerial counterpart Arsene Wenger has to rally his team after they lost to Liverpool in the competition.

The Gunners are six points adrift and defeat will all but end their title challenge with only four games remaining.

Ferguson believes Arsenal's form has dipped because of injuries to key players.

He said: "You do not win games consistently without your best team.

"If you do not have your best players, it is hard to get good results.

"We have suffered like this in the past because of injuries, as have all sides.

"It is a tough league and somewhere along the along you drop points when you do not expect it.

"We lost six to Manchester City, which we did not envisage, and got beaten by Bolton.''

Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini will miss the game after being ruled out for three weeks with an ankle problem and will be replaced in the starting line-up by Gilberto.

Defender Bacary Sagna remains on the sidelines with his ankle problem but striker Robin van Persie could start after coming on as a substitute against Liverpool.

The Gunners recent meltdown has failed to convince Wenger he must embark on a summer spending spree.

Arsenal face a third successive season without silverware if they fail to beat United - and critics have suggested Wenger must loosen the purse strings when the transfer window opens, but the Frenchman retains complete faith in his current squad.

"We will continue to do what we've done. I will buy but not too much in the summer,'' he said.

"My priority is to keep this team together because we are still young, especially in some departments.

"If we can add one more body we will do so, not one in each department - just one experienced guy.''

United lie six points above Arsenal with five games remaining and Wenger claims to win the title race from this position would be the finest moment of his career.

But he also knows failure at Old Trafford will effectively spell the end of Arsenal's season.

"It will be the greatest achievement of my career to win the Premier League now because we are swimming against the stream at the moment,'' he said.

"But I still believe this team can produce it. For us the game on Sunday is the game of the season. If we do not win this game we have no chance.

"I can't understand people who say the team's season is over. Why is it over? We are not too far behind.

"What is at stake on Sunday is the work of a whole year. If we go there and don't believe in ourselves then it is over.

"But do you really think that we will go to Manchester United thinking that our season is over? That would be ridiculous.

"We have worked so hard since the first day of the season and we will fight until the last second of the championship.''

Brown expects Gunners to fire at Old Trafford

Wes Brown expects Arsenal to show their mettle tomorrow at Old Trafford after they were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool.

It could be bleak week for the Gunners as defeat at the hands of Manchester United would all but end their title challenge.

They are currently six points adrift of Sir Alex Ferguson's side and three behind Chelsea.

Brown, however, knows Arsenal are traditionally tough opponents.

He said: 'They will be disappointed at what happened against Liverpool.

'But I think, if anything, they will try and prove to everyone in the game they are still in the title race.

'We have to be prepared for that - and I am sure we will be.

'We've got a lot to play for. If we can beat Arsenal we'll be in a great position with four games to go.'

Cristiano Ronaldo is almost certain to be restored to the United team after being rested in midweek when they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Roma.

The Portugal winger has been named Barclays Player of the Month for March while Ferguson receives the Manager of the Month award.

Ronaldo scored four times in that period while United won every league game without conceding a goal.

With 37 goals for his club to his credit this season, the 23-year-old is closing in on Denis Law's Old Trafford record of 46.

And Ferguson sees similarities in the players that span the generations.

He said: 'Denis had an incredible spring, which Ronaldo can relate to.

'Considering he was about 5ft 9ins, Denis was good in the air when you take into his account his height.

'He was lightning quick in the box as well. If anyone made a mistake, the ball was in the net.

'Denis and Ronaldo are great players. It is always hard to score a goal, I can assure you of that.'

Meanwhile, Ferguson admits he is disappointed with the kick-off time for the potential title decider against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Barclays Premier League match on April 26 is scheduled for a 12.45pm start and will be live on Sky Sports.

Ferguson is concerned about his players' recovery time as United face Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the Champions League semi-final first leg the previous Wednesday.

However, he has no plans to appeal to the Premier League.

'We would prefer a better kick-off time against Chelsea,' he said. 'But we have to accept it as TV are the dominant force.'