Barclays Premier League

United aim to seize top spot

2010-04-23 07:48
Alex Ferguson (AP)

England - Manchester United aim to pile the pressure on Chelsea by returning to the top of the Premier League with a win over in-form Tottenham on Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team trail leaders Chelsea by one point but the champions can seize pole position with a victory at Old Trafford in Saturday's early match and leave the Blues with little margin for error when they host Stoke on Sunday.

It is a gripping race which looks sure to go down to the wire and United midfielder Michael Carrick, a former Tottenham star, admits the sight of his old club beating Chelsea last weekend has breathed new life into his current team's title ambitions.

"Your emotions change from week-to-week depending on who is playing," Carrick said.

"It is funny how the fixtures have come together. At the start of the season you could never have predicted the scenario that has unfolded.

"You are supporting one team one week and playing against them the next. That is the nature of the game.

"Tottenham have been around that fourth spot all season. The squad they have assembled over a number of years is really top class.

"We are at the business end of the season now and you have to give them credit and they have put in some excellent performances."

Spurs have not won at Old Trafford since 1989 and Ferguson's side remain unbeaten against them in 21 matches in all competitions.

However, they are currently the form team in the Premier League having defeated both Arsenal and Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea in consecutive matches to make them the front-runners for the final Champions League qualifying position.

Harry Redknapp's fourth placed team have played a huge part in influencing the title run-in with those two victories, but they will be more interested in their own destiny as they sit a tantalising two points above fifth-placed Manchester City at present.

"The race for fourth place is really interesting for all the fans, all the people who are watching on TV, so it's a good thing for them and for us," Spurs defender Sebastien Bassong said.

"Earlier in the season we didn't win these games. Now we've beaten Arsenal and Chelsea at home so it proves we have improved since the start of the season.

"Manchester United are still the champions, one of the biggest names in England. They may be second in the table, but that still means they're fighting for the title. For me, honestly, there is nothing wrong with them so we have to be really focused.

"In football, if you want to be the best, you have to want to take all the points. We knew that it was going to be very hard in these games but we know where we want to go, and if we want to reach the top four we have to take the maximum points."

United could be boosted by the returns of Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown for the game but will be without Michael Owen and Anderson, while Tottenham could have captain Ledley King back after the defender was rested against Chelsea because of his persistent knee problems.



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