Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Title Race Not Just a Tale of One City

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Title Race Not Just a Tale of One City

Article excerpt

SIR Alex Ferguson is refusing to accept that the Premier League title race is as a two-horse race already - but the Manchester United boss would not be surprised if that is how it ends up.

With United maintaining their position at the top of the Premier League by beating West Ham on Wednesday, neighbours City remaining unbeaten and neither West Brom nor Chelsea able to win in midweek, a gap has suddenly opened up between the Manchester duo and the rest.

A point in front of City, the Red Devils are now seven ahead of third-placed Chelsea, sparking fears of a runaway, as was the case last season when Arsenal were an incredible 19 points behind the pair - who were split by the tightest of goal difference margins.

"You can't be certain of saying it's going to be a two-horse race at this stage," said Ferguson yesterday.

"But over the years we've said that the top five or six are all capable of winning the league and eventually it does ends up being a two-horse race. Year after year it's been like that.

"There was space between the two teams and others last year.

"The important thing to do is just look at yourselves - we want to be up there all the time. We need to stay up there and this is not an easy league to do it in."

If United beat relegation-threatened Reading at the Madejski Stadium tonight, it will mean they head to the Etihad Stadium in top spot next weekend, just as they did last April when Kompany did so much damage to their hopes of a record 20th championship.

Since then, Ferguson has seemed almost obsessed by the need to improve United's scoring record.

Yet he now concedes it is the strength of his side's defence that could be the major factor.

"Good defenders win you leagues," he said. "There is no question about that."

To that end, news of Nemanja Vidic's imminent return from knee surgery is a major plus. …

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