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Saturday, March 14, 1998 Published at 13:28 GMT


Overmars keeps title race alive
image: [ Marc Overmars was a constant threat in front of goal ]
Marc Overmars was a constant threat in front of goal

Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal

Arsenal blew the Premiership title race wide open by defeating Manchester United one-nil at Old Trafford.

It has left the Gunners just six points behind United but with three games in hand.

Manchester United now go into their European Champions' League quarter final, second leg, with Monaco on Wednesday desperately trying to find some form and confidence.

Arsene Wenger still thinks United are favourites for the championship (2'06")
They will also have to field a reserve keeper after Peter Schmeichel picked up a hamstring injury.

For large parts of this game United looked second best. They could not unlock the tight Arsenal defence - Martin Keown and Tony Adams were in brilliant form at the heart of the defence.

At the other end, Overmars, Bergkamp, Petit, Wreh, and Anelka all caused huge problems for Manchester United.

After several near misses, it was the Dutchman Overmars who finally broke the deadlock 11 minutes from time when he latched on to Anelka's flick to score past Schmeichel in the bottom corner.

As the time ticked away, United became desperate to retrieve the situation. Peter Schmeichel ran the length of the field to take part in a corner. It was a gesture he soon came to regret: the rush to get back resulted in a torn hamstring and he will definitely miss the Monaco encounter.

Confidence high

Arsenal looked the more confident side in the first half. After United's early energy subsided, the North London club started to control the game.

BBC Football Correspondent Mike Ingham assesses the impact of the result (2'13")
The Gunners' winger Marc Overmars was the most dangerous player on the field. He should have put Arsenal ahead when he went between Curtis and Gary Neville only to shoot into the side netting.

Ray Parlour might have broken the first-half deadlock when he broke free to flight the ball over an advancing Schmeichel, but the ball continued to rise and just cleared the bar.

Andy Cole had a quiet game up front for Manchester United. His best opportunity arrived when he collected Schmeichel's long kick on 38 minutes in what appeared to be an offside position.

But the assistant referee did not flag and the United striker ran through on goal only for Alex Manninger to make an excellent save.

Bets on again

Following their victory over Manchester United, Arsenal's Premiership title odds have been cut from 11-2 to 9-4 by William Hill, who still make United favourites but have lengthened their odds from 1-8 to 1-3.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger still thought United were in the driving seat.

"I think United have still got a small advantage, because we have to take the points from the games in hand.

"But we have closed the gap, and it makes it very interesting for everybody until the end," he said.

Match-winner Marc Overmars agreed with his boss: "We have a few difficult away matches, against Blackburn and Liverpool, but we are going well now.

"This was a great result for us. But you don't win the Premier League against Manchester United; you have to beat the other clubs," he said.

United manager Alex Ferguson confirmed that keeper Peter Schmeichel would miss Wednesday's Champions League match. He also doubted Arsenal's title credentials.

"If they win their games in hand they will go ahead of us, but they will find out they start dropping points towards the end of the season, there's no question about that," he said.

"They played well today but I don't think they are as good a football team as us, though they looked strong and determined."

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