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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 06:15 GMT 07:15 UK
Title rivals have their say
Arsene Wenger (left) and Sir Alex Ferguson locked horns in Sunday's Charity Shield
Wenger and Ferguson lock horns
Sunday's Charity Shield offered few clues as to which of the bookies' favourites is more likely to win the Premiership this season.

Champions Manchester United and FA Cup winners Arsenal battled out a 1-1 draw in Cardiff before United triumphed on penalties.

Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool are all expected to give the front two a run for their money this season, but former title rivals Gary Pallister and Paul Merson believe they know where the Premiership crown is headed.

And there were no prizes for guessing their reaction when BBC Sport asked for their predictions.

Gary Pallister
Former Manchester United defender

Manchester United look as strong as ever and I'm sure they will be fine without David Beckham and Juan Veron.

There are enough players with Championship medals and with the experience over the years United need to see them through.

There are players coming in all the time and I'm sure the manager will bring another couple in before the start of the season.

When Sir Alex Ferguson talked about retiring people said he'd lost the drive and desire but it was there for everyone to see last year that he was fighting tooth and nail to win the championship.

It must have been one of his most satisfying titles.

Arsene Wenger is making light of the fact he hasn't bought anyone this year but I'm sure he's frustrated deep down.

If you bring in players it gives a huge lift in the dressing room. Other than a new goalkeeper, they haven't been able to do that and the only highlight is the fact that Patrick Vieira looks as though he is going to stay.

If he does, it will be a huge bonus as he is vitally important to their team.

As long as they do that it will be Arsenal and Manchester United vying for the championship again.

Paul Merson
Former Arsenal striker

Arsenal will win the league because they have got the best players.

If they keep their best players and they all remain fit week-in week-out then they will not be beaten.

The only problem Arsenal will have is if it starts to go a bit belly-up. Then people may want to leave the club and suddenly it's a different story.

But if they start well and become the form team early on then they will really take some stopping.

In Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, Arsenal have the best three players in the Premiership.

They need a good start and they need to stay clear of trouble.

But I believe they would have won the league last year if Sol Campbell had not been sent off against Manchester United in April and I think they will do it this time.

Will Man Utd's win have any bearing on the title race?
10193 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


MANCHESTER UTD 1-1 ARSENAL (Man Utd win 4-3 on pens)

Man Utd
2729 Votes Cast
Which of the bookies' favourites will win the league?




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