Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SIR ALEX: ABUSE OF WENGER MUST END; UNITED BOSS TELLS FANS TO STOP SICKENING CHANTS; Ferguson Urges United Fans to Stop Their Sickening Wenger Chants

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SIR ALEX: ABUSE OF WENGER MUST END; UNITED BOSS TELLS FANS TO STOP SICKENING CHANTS; Ferguson Urges United Fans to Stop Their Sickening Wenger Chants

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Brereton and James Olley Football Correspondents

SIR ALEX FERGUSON today appealed to Manchester United's travelling supporters to lay off Arsene Wenger during Sunday's clash at Emirates Stadium.

United's fans were back in the spotlight this week after Manchester City's Craig Bellamy was hit by a coin and bottle while taking a corner in the Carling Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.

The champions have promised to ban the coin thrower for life once identified by CCTV and Ferguson has told the 3,000 followers heading to London at the weekend to behave.

Arsenal boss Wenger was subjected to some almighty vitriol from the stands after being sent off in the 2-1 defeat in Manchester at the start of the season and Ferguson does not want a repeat.

"There has been some terrible abuse from our fans towards Arsene Wenger," said the United boss. "But a line has to be drawn. They must know that themselves. It is unavoidable that managers do get abused. I get it myself. Most managers do. Sometimes I can't hear these chants or make them out but it has to be controlled."

Ferguson believes Sunday's clash is "the biggest game of the season" for United, who are a point and a single place above the Gunners in the table.

Ferguson added: "Looking at the way the League is shaping up, the game is the biggest of the season for us.

"Arsenal have gone on a consistent run and it's amazing how this League has changed. The team that are most consistent will win the League now and Arsenal's form has been very good."

Wayne Rooney goes into the clash with 21 goals in all competitions and needing just one more strike to reach 100 in the Premier League.

He has been United's most consistent performer so far this season but Wenger insisted today that Sol Campbell is capable of halting the striker's devastating run of form.

First-choice centre-back Thomas Vermaelen has only "a small chance" of playing despite scans revealing no broken bones in the leg injury that forced out him of Wednesday's 0-0 draw at Aston Villa. …

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