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Fergie relishes Gunners shoot out
Published : 13 Dec 2010 09:30:45
Sir Alex Ferguson is expecting the old Arsenal bite to return when the two rivals clash in tonight's title showdown. But the Reds boss believes in Wayne Rooney he has the perfect player to sink his teeth into the revitalised Gunners. Arsene Wenger's side have not won a trophy for five years since they beat the Reds in the 2005 FA Cup Final. They haven't won the Premier League since 2004 but go into tonight's Old Trafford crunch right in the thick of the title race. And Fergie, who has clashed with Wenger regularly over the years, admits the Gunners are growing in stature. I think the general shape of the team has been far more mature and aggressive this year, said Fergie, who next week will become United's longest-serving manager. They were very difficult to beat in the days of Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira and the three at the back Martin Keown, Tony Adams and Steve Bould. That brought them great success and I think this team is showing that kind of maturity now. They will still try to play the attractive football Arsene believes in, but there's definitely been a slight change. They're joint top of the league that's a sure indication that they are better than they were last year and they'll have a chance to win it. The games against them, particularly four or five years ago, were so important because both of us were challenging for titles. Chelsea have now come in and it's been ourselves and Chelsea over the last five years. Nonetheless, it's Manchester United against Arsenal and the history of both teams always guarantees a match of intensity and, a lot of the time, controversy. I think the game will be more or less the same because the pride and history of both clubs determines that. The United boss believes Rooney's after-burners will be on full power this week with the back-to-back heavyweight title games against Arsenal and Chelsea firing up the striker. Rooney is looking back to form and is now just a goal away from completing his rehab. And there could be no better opposition for him to end his nine-month drought from open play for the Reds. United have lost only once in the six games he's scored against Arsenal. Meanwhile, the Reds will be forced to readjust their January transfer thoughts after Bastian Schweinsteiger signed a new contract at Bayern Munich.