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Manchester United aims to overhaul Arsenal in Premier League title race

Manchester United aims to overhaul Arsenal in Premier League title race

Manchester United is confident of overhauling Arsenal and defending its Premier League title after the Gunners' double setback last week.
Arsenal's lead was cut to three points with 11 rounds left in the season after it drew 2-2 with Birmingham City and Man United routed Newcastle 5-1.
The Gunners also lost striker Eduardo da Silva for the season after he broke his left leg.
"Everybody in the squad is determined to get to the top of the league as quickly as possible and I'm sure it will happen," Man United midfielder Park Ji-sung said. "The league is so close so it's possible we'll end the season on the same points as Arsenal. In that case, games like the one against Newcastle ... can certainly help us (improve our goal difference)."
Arsenal leads with 64 points, followed by United with 61, Chelsea with 55, and Everton with 50. Liverpool and Aston Villa have 47 points.
Arsenal hosts Aston Villa and Manchester United goes to Fulham on Saturday.
United manager Alex Ferguson is not taking 19th-place Fulham lightly, mainly because of its well-traveled manager Roy Hodgson, who is the third man to take charge of Fulham this season.
"Working in different climates with different cultures definitely broadens your education," Ferguson said.
"Sometimes I used to say to myself: 'I'd love to have tried managing abroad sometime,' but then it was difficult for me. My choices were cut off simply because I was the manager of Manchester United, which is amazing, and you don't leave Manchester United."
Arsenal conceded an injury-time penalty against Birmingham, but the match was overshadowed by the severe injury to Eduardo.
The Croatian international broke his leg and sustained an open dislocation of his left ankle after a tackle by Birmingham defender Martin Taylor. He will be sidelined for about nine months.
Arsenal has only dropped four points in all competitions at Emirates Stadium this season and has yet to lose a league game there. Although the Gunners visit AC Milan in the Champions League second round on Tuesday after last week's 0-0 draw, Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill isn't expecting them to let up.
"The truth is, I would love to say that they would take their eye off the ball, but it is simply not there," O'Neill said. "They have the squad to cope with it, despite the horrific injury to Eduardo."
Arsenal striker Theo Walcott, who scored both goals against Birmingham, is wary of Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor. Both have played in England's under-21 side and both are known for their pace.
"With Gabby, you can overcook a pass and he'll still get there because his pace is just phenomenal _ really, it's a joke," Walcott said. "He's a clever player and he's got a good finish on him, which helps."
Chelsea visits West Ham on Saturday, looking to regroup after losing 2-1 to Tottenham in the League Cup final last week.
Amid reports of a fallout between captain John Terry and assistant coach Henk ten Cate the day before the final, there's also speculation that owner Roman Abramovich is unhappy with manager Avram Grant.
British newspapers reported Thursday that the Blues have lined up FC Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard to replace Grant next season. Grant became Chelsea manager in September when Jose Mourinho left.
As well as the Premier League, Chelsea is in contention for two more trophies. It hosts Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday after a 0-0 draw in Greece and then plays Barnsley in the FA Cup quarterfinals on March 8.
"We just have to put what has happened behind us and make sure we move forward and everything from here goes well," Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel said.
Tottenham hopes winning its first trophy since 1999 will lead to stronger form in the league. Spurs are in 11th place and travel to Birmingham on Saturday.
Also Saturday, it's: Derby vs. Sunderland; Middlesbrough vs. Reading; Newcastle vs. Blackburn; and Manchester City vs. Wigan. On Sunday, Liverpool is at Bolton and Everton hosts Portsmouth.
Liverpool can only realistically aim for the Champions League. It travels to Inter Milan on March 11 with a 2-0 first-leg lead, but captain Steven Gerrard is disappointed with the team's league form.
"In the position we find ourselves now, fourth is the least that's acceptable," Gerrard said. "But we have bigger ambitions that that.
"The only way we can fulfill those ambitions is in the Champions League. And I'm not going to pretend that even winning that trophy _ and we are a long way from it at the moment _ will make up for the disappointment of the league campaign."
In the League Championship, leader Stoke goes to Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, while Bristol City hosts Hull and Watford plays Burnley.
Stoke has 62 points, followed by Bristol City with 61 and Watford with 60.


Updated : 2021-03-03 08:02 GMT+08:00