As of 21:53 last night the title really did become Man United’s to lose. Liverpool failed to defeat Arsenal at home; despite scoring four times, they were penned back by four from the impressive Andrei Arshavin.
Sir Alex Ferguson must have been rubbing his hands with glee as Liverpool’s normally rock solid defence fell apart. Before last night they had only conceded eight at home, but 90 minutes later that figure had risen to 12.
So now over to Man United, going in to tonight’s game on level points with Liverpool, trailing on goal difference but still with those crucial two games in hand that could see them pull six points clear at the top.
Ferguson’s men face a Portsmouth side that need, you would think, one more victory to ensure Premier League survival for another year. Having won at the weekend they now sit six points clear of the relegation zone and will probably be happy to come away from Old Trafford with a point.
After he was stretchered off at the weekend Pompey will be without Niko Krancjar who has suffered ankle ligament damage. Furthermore Younes Kabul may miss out through a thigh strain as the south coast side go in search of their third win in six. They remain undefeated in the last five and have netted six times. However they face a United side in a determined mood.
Manchester United may have lost in the two consecutive games in the middle of March but before that they had won 11 games on the bounce and will be looking to build on a couple of last minute victories over the past few weeks. Ferguson could very well hand Paul Scholes’ his 600th appearance tonight and will be pleased to welcome back Edwin Van Der Sar and Cristiano Ronaldo with Wayne Rooney facing a late fitness test.
Despite being knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton at the weekend United are still in the running to claim four trophies this year and may have one eye on next week’s crunch Champions League Semi Final against Arsenal. Going in to their 57th match of the season the manager may well elect to use some of the youngsters that impressed at Wembley on Sunday as they chase their 23rd league victory of this campaign.
With the title firmly in their own hands it will be down to them where the glory ends up this year. One thing is for certain though, United will be looking to capitalise on Liverpool’s mistake and regain top spot, defeat for the Man U faithful is unthinkable. Pompey did win here last year on their way to lifting the FA Cup trophy but smarting from defeat at the weekend United will be looking to set the record straight and reclaim their position at the summit of the Premier League.