ALEX FERGUSON believes Arsenal pose the greatest threat to Manchester United's hopes of a record fourth successive Premier League title.
United returned to the top of the Premier League yesterday with a 3-0 win over Fulham at Old Trafford, with Wayne Rooney scoring two goals to take his tally to 32 this season.
Chelsea and Arsenal are only two points behind the champions, but even though the West London club have a game in hand on their rivals, the United manager sees the greater challenge coming from Arsene Wenger's team. Written off as title contenders a few weeks ago, Arsenal have won their past five league matches and have the gentler-looking run-in.
"We are back in the lead, but Chelsea have a game in hand," Ferguson said. "It's also going to be a hard-fought tussle, with Arsenal coming strongly now, and I have a suspicion that they might yet mount the biggest challenge.
"To a certain extent the title is in our hands because Chelsea have to come to Old Trafford [on April 3], and naturally that will be a massive match, but, as I say, I'm wary of Arsenal if they don't suffer too many more injuries to key players."
Asked whether this could prove to be the tightest Premier League title race ever, Ferguson said: "Right now it's looking like it, I must say. It's looking very tight. We have only got eight games left, Chelsea have nine games left, so you never know. You have to think about goal difference. We're four goals ahead of Chelsea. I wish it was 14, but at least it's something in our favour.
"I suppose the simple way for us and Chelsea to look at it is just to win all our games. But life is never that simple."
Rooney's two goals were followed by a late effort from Dimitar Berbatov, who declared that his strike partner was, on present form, the best player in the world. "He is still so young, so he has plenty of chance to become even greater," Berbatov said. "I think he will have scored over 40 goals by the time the season finishes."
The Bulgaria striker also backed United to leave their title rivals from London trailing in their wake.
"There can only be one winner in the title race and I think it is going to be us," he said.
"Arsenal and Chelsea are great teams and we have difficult games ahead, but the good thing is we play at home against Chelsea and that will be an advantage for us. I am optimistic that in the end we will be champions."