Belfast Telegraph

Fergie wary of 'aggressive' Gunners

Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled Arsenal a more aggressive side than they were last year.

The Manchester United manager is preparing for another showdown with Arsene Wenger's men at Old Trafford on Monday night knowing a place at the top of the Barclays Premier League is the prize for the winner. The United manager still sees the same passing style, it is just that Wenger is trying to incorporate a more robust approach.

"I think they'll still try to play the attractive football Arsene believes in, but there's definitely been a slight change," Ferguson told United's official website. "The general shape of the team has been far more mature and aggressive this year."

He added: "They're top of the league - that's a sure indication that they are better than they were last year and they'll have a chance.

"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 that this team is showing that kind of maturity now."

Ferguson does not believe the fixture with Arsenal has lost any of its gloss since the emergence of Chelsea as a title-winning force.

"The games, particularly four or five years ago, were so important because both of us were challenging for league titles," he said. "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 Monday night's game will be more or less the same because the pride and history of both clubs determine that."


From Belfast Telegraph