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Neville: We'll catch up

Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes that the outcome of the Premier League title race is likely to be determined by Chelsea's visit to Old Trafford on April 3.

Chelsea returned to the top of the table with a 2-0 win at home to Arsenal on Sunday, restoring their two-point advantage over United, whose 5-0 trouncing of Portsmouth 24 hours earlier had briefly put them top.

With Arsenal nine points behind their London rivals, the fight for the title looks increasingly like it has reverted to a familiar two-horse race. Neville predicts a nip-and-tuck affair.

"Our goal is to get to the top of the league so we can control our destiny," the defender said. "At this moment in time, Chelsea are in control of their destiny at the top, although we still have to play them at Old Trafford."

United have won six of their seven league matches since losing 3-0 to Fulham on December 19.

Concern may still centre on their dependence on Wayne Rooney, but Michael Carrick believes that United are finding form at the right time.

"We're now playing like we know we can," the midfield player said.

"It's been frustrating at times this season but hopefully now we can hit our best and find consistency.

"We do tend to save our best for the new year. Maybe it's because the stakes are higher."



sweating

United visit Aston Villa tomorrow, with Alex Ferguson, the manager, still sweating on Nemanja Vidic's fitness. The Serbia defender has yet to play this year because of a calf injury.

With AC Milan to play in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie at San Siro a week today, Ferguson is keen for Vidic to get some playing time rather than go straight back into action against the Italian club, as he did with dreadful consequences three seasons ago.

On that occasion, in May 2007, Vidic's lack of fitness was brutally exposed as Milan beat United 3-0 in the Champions League semi-final, second leg to progress 5-3 on aggregate.

Edwin van der Sar has attempted to draw a line under his feud with Tomasz Kuszczak by praising his fellow United goalkeeper's form while he was injured and later on compassionate leave because of his wife's illness.

Kuszczak claimed last year in an interview with MUTV, United's official television station, that Van der Sar dislikes and ignores him, and the Pole is understood to be dismayed that, despite his good form, he lost his place as soon as his rival returned.

United tried to defuse the spat but Kuszczak told a club employee that he was "glad" his grievances had been made public.

"I'd like to go on record as saying what a good job Tomasz did over the last couple of months," Van der Sar said.

"With so many injuries, it wasn't easy for him to come in and perform so well.

"I thought he played really well in a difficult situation."


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