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LONDON - A tactical switch by Arsene Wenger has made free-scoring Arsenal look like title contenders before tomorrow's Premier League trip to champions Manchester United.
Arsenal's attack-minded squad has been complemented by Wenger's change from a 4-4-1-1 to a 4-3-3 formation this season that has brought 10 goals and victories in their first two league matches.
The Londoners also recorded a 5-1 aggregate win over Celtic to qualify for the Champions League group stages.
United's 5-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic last Saturday suggested they were beginning to adapt to life without former talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arsenal, leaders Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Chelsea have all made 100percent starts to the season and Wenger expects another tough battle for the title.
Arsenal's Champions League hopes were wrecked last season when Ronaldo produced a dazzling semifinal second-leg display at the Emirates.
United's 4-1 aggregate win underlined a chasm in quality between the two rivals but the availability of Andrei Arshavin and the return to fitness of Eduardo da Silva and Tomas Rosicky should make Arsenal a tougher proposition tomorrow. Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas has a tight hamstring and Theo Walcott is out with a back injury.
United, boosted by the return of defender Nemanja Vidic from injury, are still without goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has demanded more from his squad ahead of tomorrow's trip to Bolton Wanderers after losing twice in three games.
Chelsea, unbeaten under Carlo Ancelotti, host a Burnley side who have won their last two league games while Tottenham will be favourites at home to Birmingham City. Sunderland travel to Stoke City, Wolverhampton Wanderers host Hull City and Blackburn Rovers, without a point, play West Ham United at Ewood Park.
On Sunday, Manchester City could hand a debut to new signing Joleon Lescott at Portsmouth. Aston Villa entertain Fulham while Everton host Wigan. - Reuters