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Nigel Winterburn: Arsenal can end Manchester United’s unbeaten record

PUBLISHED: 11:15 10 December 2010

Nigel Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn

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ARSENE Wenger has said it a few times recently, and I am inclined to agree – this is turning into the most fascinating season in the Premier League.

We are almost half way through the season and you have to say there are five teams genuinely challenging for the title, but I wonder how long we will be able to say that with so many big games coming in the next month.

This weekend could have a massive bearing, with Chelsea going to Spurs and then Arsenal at Old Trafford on Monday night.

Arsenal may be a little fortunate to find themselves top of the table, but nobody will complain if it stays that way until the end of the season, or remember how many games they lost.

Without a doubt the team needs to be improve defensively as I have been saying for weeks but against Fulham, as against Villa the week before, they still found a way to win, despite conceding bad goals.

Meanwhile Chelsea have forgotten how to win, and when that happens the confidence goes and you just don’t know where your next three points are coming from.

Chelsea have also had huge injury problems, and I don’t care what club you are or how big your squad is, if you are missing players like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien then you are going to feel it. It’s the core of their side.

Arsenal have taken advantage though, and that is good to see. Can they continue to do so by getting a result at Old Trafford? I think so.

United have flattered to deceive a bit this season and last year because they haven’t been as strong as we expect them to be, but Alex Ferguson will always ensure they get enough results to be there or thereabouts.

Wayne Rooney is back but it will take him a while to return to full fitness, and he is still short of goals. But United looked strong in that 7-1 win over Blackburn and will be looking for a statement of intent on Monday.

The financial problems at Old Trafford and the amount of debt the club now has, mean that it really is just Manchester City who have the money to spend now. They are only three points off the top and this could be their chance to push themselves into contention with all the other top teams playing each other.

Arsenal have to make sure they don’t fall off the pace now, with Chelsea due at the Emirates on December 27 ­– also on a Monday night.

It is not great for supporters who go to the games that these big matches are switched to Mondays, but with the money Sky puts in, you just can’t argue with them calling the shots.

If it is a great game at Old Trafford – and it should be – then nobody will be complaining.


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