Arse­nal match can make or break United’s sea­son

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

SIR ALEX FER­GU­SON has billed Manch­ester United’s visit to Arse­nal to­mor­row as a match that could make or break his squad’s sea­son.

“I think the game on Sun­day, to my mind now looking at the way the league is shap­ing up, is the big­gest game of the sea­son for us,” the Scot told re­porters at United’s train­ing ground yes­ter­day.

“Arse­nal have gone on a con­sis­tent run and it’s amaz­ing how this league has changed.

“The team that is most con­sis­tent will win the league now and Arse­nal’s cur­rent form has been very good and I’m looking for­ward to it.

“At the mo­ment the league is looking like a three-horse race but there have been so many changes and dif­fer­ent re­sult from the top sides that you can­not be 100 per­cent cer­tain.”

Just two points sep­a­rate Chelsea at the top of the ta­ble and Arse­nal in third with United in be­tween.

“Of course Chelsea have the ad­van­tage of the game in hand and if they win that they go four points ahead of us,” Fer­gu­son added.

“So that is the catch-up part we are in and that means Sun­day has a great rel­e­vance to both of us be­cause we have a gen­uine chance to win the league.”

Ahead of the match, Fer­gu­son has ap­pealed to United’s trav­el­ling sup­port­ers to get be­hind his play­ers in a pos­i­tive way rather than in­dulging in the per­sonal abuse of his Arse­nal coun­ter­part Arsene Wenger. This has been a reg­u­lar and un­pleas­ant fea­ture of meet­ings be­tween the two clubs.

“I think it’s un­avoid­able in the way that man­agers get abused to­day,” Fer­gu­son said.

“Some­times I can’t hear th­ese chants and I can’t make them out but I know there’s been some ter­ri­ble abuse from our fans to Arsene Wenger and there must be a line drawn and I think our fans must know that them­selves.

“I was re­ally proud of the way they sup­ported us (in the League Cup win over Manch­ester City) on Wed­nes­day.

“We don’t need to worry about any­one else – they should be proud of the team they are sup­port­ing.”

Fer­gu­son mean­while has hinted that United will not ap­peal against the ban that has ruled Rio Fer­di­nand out of the club’s next four matches de­spite what he sees as bla­tant in­con­sis­ten­cies in the han­dling of vi­o­lent con­duct cases.

Fer­di­nand was charged by the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion af­ter floor­ing Craig Fa­gan with a swing­ing arm in United’s 4-0 win against Hull last week­end.

The manda­tory three-match ban was in­creased to four af­ter the FA deemed United’s ap­peal to be “friv­o­lous” and Fer­di­nand will miss to­mor­row’s en­counter with Arse­nal as well as fur­ther games aga ins t Portsmouth, As­ton Villa and Ever­ton.

Fer­gu­son ini­tially an­nounced that United would try to have the de­ci­sion looked at again only to later con­tra­dict him­self by in­sist­ing the in­ci­dent is now fin­ished with.

“We have to de­cide if we ap­peal it be­cause there are con­flict­ing ways of view­ing some of th­ese de­ci­sions,” he said.

“I watched Charl­ton and Ley­ton Ori­ent the other night and the Ley­ton Ori­ent goal came af­ter an el­bow on the Charl­ton player three times and noth­ing hap­pened.

“So there’s a lot of con­fu­sion in terms of th­ese de­ci­sions but we ac­cepted he is banned and we will get on with it – there’s noth­ing we can do about it.”

If United were to ap­peal again, they would risk the ban be­ing in­creased to five matches which would rule Fer­di­nand out of the League Cup fi­nal at the end of next month. – Sapa-AFP

Sir Alex Fer­gu­son… get be­hind our play­ers.

More foot­ball in­side

Arsene Wenger… abuse from United fans.

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