guns aimed at mAN UTD

LONDON - There will be no respite for Arsenal when their season reaches a critical juncture on Sunday with the visit of champions Manchester United.

LONDON - There will be no respite for Arsenal when their season reaches a critical juncture on Sunday with the visit of champions Manchester United.

The mood of a club can change quickly in the helter-skelter Premier League and while United's League Cup semifinal win over Manchester City and the electrifying form of Wayne Rooney has them on a high, Arsenal need a quick pick-up.

Last weekend's FA Cup defeat at Stoke was a blow and on Wednesday a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa, while on the face of it not a bad result, left Arsene Wenger's side slightly adrift in the title race.

The draw at Villa also proved costly in terms of personnel with reliable defender Thomas Vermaelen injuring a leg and Croatian striker Eduardo straining a hamstring.

"We want to win our next home game - it is as simple as that," said Wenger, whose side face Chelsea and Liverpool in their next two games.

"We go from game to game because if you think too much ahead it is not too good."

United's 3-1 victory over City, for a 4-3 aggregate win, was sealed by a last-gasp header by Rooney who is enjoying the best goal-scoring form of his career at just the right time. The England striker has 21 goals this season and has netted 13 in his last 13 games in all competitions.

"His control, his leading of the line, his penetration is absolutely fantastic," Ferguson said of the man who is pivotal to United's hopes of a fourth consecutive title.

Chelsea travel to struggling Burnley tomorrow fresh from an impressive 3-0 victory over Birmingham City on Wednesday that put them back on top of the table.

Carlo Ancelotti will be able to call on Ivory Coast duo Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou after they returned from the Africa Cup of Nations - not that they have struggled without them, winning all four matches in their absence and scoring 17 goals in the process.

While Chelsea, United and Arsenal scrap for the title, the battle for fourth place and the chance of Champions League football is also raging.

Tottenham Hotspur travel to Birmingham, while Liverpool host Bolton. Manchester City host bottom club Portsmouth. - Reuters

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