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Gunners getting ready to rewrite Red Devils' script

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is in no doubt Manchester United will be out to make another statement that they remain the team to beat when the Premier League title contenders go head to head at Emirates Stadium tomorrow.

The Gunners last won the championship during the unbeaten campaign of 2003/04, but were genuine challengers three seasons ago when their lead was eventually overhauled by both United and Chelsea.

This year, though, signs are that Wenger's youngsters -- lead by captain Cesc Fabregas -- can come of age having clawed themselves back into contention with seven wins from the last 10 league games.

Arsenal started a run of potentially defining matches with a goalless draw at Aston Villa which sees them now two points behind Chelsea, whom they face at Stamford Bridge next weekend, although having played a match more.

United, meanwhile, were in Carling Cup action, when they saw off the challenge of rivals Manchester City.

Wenger feels Alex Ferguson's men were keen to show their supremacy over City, whose Middle East owners intend to one day surpass United as the biggest club in the world.

"With Manchester City making a big statement, it was about local prestige and that was certainly important in the minds of the fans that they say 'no, Manchester United is still the greatest here, you cannot touch us at the moment," Wenger reflected.


And the Arsenal manager is relishing the challenges ahead as his team enter what could be a defining run of fixtures.

"We love it," Wenger declared. "Of course it was our dream to be in this position in this period of time and we want to show it now.

"We are really up for it. We are on a good run. We have good momentum and we want to continue that."

Wayne Rooney is enjoying a fine season with United, having netted 21 goals in all competitions this term.

The England striker, though, maintains it would be "nonsense" to suggest the Red Devils were a one-man team.

Wenger agrees. "I do not think they are over-reliant on Rooney," the Arsenal manager said.

Veteran Sol Campbell could be in line for a first appearance at Emirates Stadium after rejoining the club as centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is doubtful with a knee problem picked up in midweek.