Leaders keen to avoid slip-ups (Preview English League)

May 1st, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by admin  

DPA
London, May 1 (DPA) After the drama of the Champions League, in which they will meet in the final later this month, Manchester United and Chelsea, locked together at the top of the table, will be hoping each other slips up this weekend in the penultimate round of matches in the English Premier League football. Champions United have the advantage of a superior goal difference but know that any mistake could let Chelsea in to win their third title in four years.

United have the advantage of playing Saturday lunchtime, at home to West Ham United, while Chelsea are not in action until Monday night when they travel to Newcastle United for a potentially difficult game.

West Ham have been a thorn in United’s side in the past but manager Sir Alex Ferguson should be able to welcome back striker Wayne Rooney from the hip injury that caused him to miss the Champions League win over Barcelona in midweek.

“After getting the knock against Chelsea on Saturday, Wayne was in real pain on Monday,” Ferguson said.

“I made the decision not to risk him (against Barcelona) because if I had to then substitute him early in the match it could really have affected us. Wayne has got a big chance (of being fit for West Ham). He’ll be all right for Saturday.”

United could also have Nemanja Vidic fit again after injury, while Patric Evra should also be available despite taking a knock on the head against Barcelona.

Their hopes of winning the title could yet be aided by an unlikely ally, Kevin Keegan, as his Newcastle side look to put one over Chelsea.

Keegan and Ferguson famously came to verbal blows when Newcastle were competing for the league title in 1996, but the Newcastle manager simply wants his team to continue their recent good form.

“It is our job to help Man United win the title, and that’s not easy for me to say,” Keegan said.

“Yes, Chelsea are a big club and would be worthy champions as would Man United, but we have a chance now, having put together a run of six or seven games unbeaten, to see how far we’ve come by playing one of the big four.

“I don’t have a preference at all. I just think the best team usually wins it — except the time we lost the title. The best team came second that time.”

With Arsenal (at home to Everton Sunday) and Liverpool (at home Sunday to Manchester City) ensured of third and fourth place respectively and with it Champions League football next season, the rest of the attention focuses on the fight for survival, with four teams

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