Arsenal v United - A Battle For Second Place
Chelsea are not unbeatable, far from that. But so far this season they've played the best football, they've looked the most resilient and they've been the most consistent - though even they have been quite inconsistent. And in all probability they will go four points clear at the top of the table.
Arsenal have all the injury problems and they have a thin squad anyway; we've been a bit ordinary throughout and now Ferdinand is out for four games - so, realistically, this is a battle for second place and the battle for the chance of mounting a title challenge. But whatever the outcome is, Chelsea are clear favourites. Fergie, though, is a bit more optimistic about our chances than I am, publicly at least.
"The game is, to my mind looking at how the league is shaping up, is the biggest game of the season for us. With Arsenal going on a consistent run, it`s amazing how this league has changed. The team that is the most consistent will win the league now.
"Arsenal`s current form has been very good, so it`s a massive game for us. If Chelsea win their game in hand on us then they can go four points in front.
'We`re playing catch-up with that part of it, but Sunday`s game is of most relevance to us because both teams have a real chance of winning the league.'
Yes, the most consistent team will win the league - and every evidence suggests that will be Chelsea. Sheer experience and winning mentality will help us to keep up the pace but ultimately, I think we will fall short.
So yes, this is an important game but I doubt it will change that much. Actually, it's more important for Arsenal: with a defeat they would fall four points behind us and as they visit Chelsea the week after even second place could drift away from them.
We do not have to prove anything: everyone knows that we will cling on somehow, we'll at least annoy Chelsea. But Arsenal need to show they have the guts and the belief to keep up and they cannot afford such an epic fail as we witnessed in May when they collapsed in the biggest game of their season after 11 minutes.