LONDON, April 30, 2011 (AFP) - Sir Alex Ferguson believes the Premier League title race will go down to the wire after claiming there will be plenty more twists and turns yet as his Manchester United side head to Arsenal on Sunday.
United head to Arsenal on Sunday knowing they can take a giant step closer to landing their 19th domestic title at the Emirates Stadium.
A win for the Red Devils would put them on the brink of the championship, despite nearest rivals Chelsea - who play fifth-placed Spurs on Saturday - still to visit Manchester.
|AFP - Chelsea's Ivorian striker Didier Drogba reacts to a missed chance during the English Premier League match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London, on April 23, 2011.|
The match would have carried even greater significance had Arsenal not seen their own title hopes all but disappear with defeat at Bolton last weekend.
Instead, it is United's meeting with Chelsea on May 8th that is more likely to determine the outcome of the title race and Ferguson is anxious to avoid seeing his side's lead at the summit cut to three points in the capital.
"Chelsea are the dark horses in the sense that people seemed to think they were out of it," said Ferguson.
"But I looked at the programme and I thought they had the easier run in and are now on our coat-tails.
"Obviously two months ago everybody was looking at these two games coming up, Arsenal and Chelsea as league deciders, and they probably are now. We are going into the game in good form and hopefully we can keep that going.
"But I think there's still drama ahead. The teams at the top will drop points, including Chelsea.
"You will be hopeful if we get to the last game, the last home match, needing to win the league we will be happy with that.
"Even though Blackpool, who we play on the final day, will be fighting against relegation and will be difficult opponents.
"If you said at the start of the season knowing you had to win that match to win the league you would take that."
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick believes momentum is in his side's favour as the season reaches a climax.
"We are playing well. Individually, players are hitting good form and as a team things are looking good," he said.
"It's alright at this minute but we want to carry this through until the end of the season.
"It doesn't count for much at the minute.
"We are not getting ahead of ourselves and thinking about what might be."
Manchester United are boosted by the return of Dimitar Berbatov after a groin strain but Darren Fletcher, who made his comeback for the reserves side, is unlikely to be risked.
But Ferguson says having the pair back fit bodes well for the run-in with him now having a full-fit squad at his disposal.
"Dimitar is back and Darren is a great addition to the squad at this time of the year having missed him for a couple of months," he said.
"There is a great freshness at the club. Ji-Sung Park, Antonio Valencia, Anderson and Fabio have come in and it does give you an extra boost regarding intensity and all the games these days, it does put you in a good position."
The defeat at Bolton forced Arsene Wenger into a bout of soul searching and the manager conceded his team lacked defensive strength when it matters most.
The return of Thomas Vermaelen to reserve team action this week after a seven month absence with an Achilles problem could hardly have been better timed then, although this game will come too early for the Belgium international.