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Giggs ready to lock horns with old foe

30 Jan 2010 13:26:26

Giggs ready to lock horns with old foe

Ryan Giggs credits Arsenal's new-found consistency down to the arrival of Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian international was a relative unknown when he arrived in the Premier League from Ajax in the summer. However, Arsene Wenger can usually spot a decent player and the 24-year-old wasted no time in acclimatising to the Premier League and has already confirmed his status as one of the best buys of the season. So, if anyone wonders why Arsenal are title contenders once more after finding their prized top four slot under severe threat last term, Giggs has identified it in the £10m defender. "Arsenal are the kind of team that can beat anyone on their day," said the veteran Welshman. "What they have struggled with is consistency. "They seem to have that this year and from what I have seen, bringing in Vermaelen was the key. His partnership with William Gallas has been the bedrock of the season." Giggs is no doubt relieved the centre-half is a major doubt for tomorrow's showdown with Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium after being carried off at Aston Villa in midweek with what thankfully did not turn out to be a broken leg. Yet even if Vermaelen fails to make it, Giggs can identify dangers all over the pitch. The obvious one is Cesc Fabregas, who is enjoying an inspirational campaign. But Giggs feels it would be a mistake for his team-mates to single out one individual for special treatment. "Arsenal are a young team," he said. "But when you look someone like Fabregas, he may only be 22 but he has a lot of experience. "As a team, they are gaining experience all the time, so I doubt they will pinpoint one player, in the same way we won't do for them. "You can admire certain individuals but there are all good players. That is why they play for Arsenal. "It is better to try and stop the team as a whole because these games tend to be decided by a little bit of brilliance from one individual." Having established their positions in Chelsea's slipstream, neither side can afford to lose. But a draw is not that much use either, certainly not for United, whose remaining encounter with Carlo Ancelotti's men does not take place until April, by which time the destination of the title might have already been decided. Not that any meeting between United and Arsenal needs to be built up. Giggs' memorable shirt-twirling celebration after his FA Cup semi-final winner in 1999 maybe the most notable event of the last 20 years between the two sides, but there have been plenty of meetings to stir the soul. "There is a big rivalry between the two clubs," said Giggs. "Over the last 20 years we have been the two top teams and there has always been this rivalry between the managers, the fans and the players. "Let's be honest, you are talking about two teams that have had so much quality, both individually and as a team. Between us we have won so much." Certainly Ferguson's claim of it being the biggest game so far meets with no argument from his most senior player. "Look at the position of the two teams," he said. "Arsenal have been on a great run and we are coming off the win over City with everyone buzzing. "Arsenal against United is always a big game. This is bigger than most." end


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