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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Title race reaches climax
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger share a joke - but who will be smiling after the Highbury showdown?
Ferguson believes Man Utd could have a psychological edge
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted a draw would "not be a disaster" in the Premiership showdown with Manchester United at Highbury on Wednesday.

Reigning champions Arsenal have seen an eight-point lead turn into a three-point deficit as United have overtaken the Gunners at the top of the table.

But Wenger's men have played a game less and have a slightly better goal difference than free-scoring United.

"No matter what happens, people forget that we still have a game in hand," said Wenger.

"Even a draw, if it happens, would not be a disaster for us."

It is now the biggest game of the season
Sir Alex Ferguson
Man Utd manager

The hotly-anticipated encounter is reminiscent of the game between the two at Old Trafford last May, when Arsenal won 1-0 to clinch a league and Cup Double.

Only a victory would have been enough for United that day, but Wenger believes his side can afford to drop points this time around.

"The difference with last year is that they had desperately to win the game. We don't have to on Wednesday," he added.

Arsenal hope to have inspirational captain Patrick Vieira fit to contest what should be a compelling the midfield battle with United skipper Roy Keane, who is recovering from a dead leg.

Meanwhile, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes his side have peaked at exactly the right time.

Ferguson said his players would go into game at Highbury with more confidence than their rivals after overhauling Arsenal at the top of the Premiership in recent weeks.

"This is like the start of a Grand Prix," he said.

"You want to get into pole position with so few games to go. This is the crunch. It is now the biggest game of the season."

And Ferguson added that convincing wins over Newcastle and Liverpool in their last two league matches had only added to the air of confidence among his players.

"The timing of our superb victory at Newcastle on Saturday was perfect. It couldn't have been better," Ferguson told the Manchester Evening News.

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"It is not by accident where the players have got themselves. We have been digging away at Arsenal's lead for weeks and weeks now. Our form has been building up really nicely."

And Ferguson hinted that the Gunners' confidence could have been affected by their rivals' form.

"There's not much you can do about it when someone is coming up on you like we have," he said.

"Form is form and it is more difficult to maintain it at the end of the season than it is at the start once you lose it."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"We know we can do it"


Sir Alex Ferguson
"It's the biggest game of the season"


VOTE RESULTS
Who will win Highbury showdown?
Arsenal
 37.99% 
Man Utd
 47.14% 
Draw
 14.87% 
14968 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


ARSENAL

MANCHESTER UNITED

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