Football

Arsenal legend backs United for glory

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Martin Keown knows all about title run-ins against Manchester United, but the ex-Arsenal defender is backing his former foes to secure the Barclays Premier League this season.

With United opening a gap of seven points over Arsenal at the summit of the league table after their 4-2 victory over West Ham, Sir Alex Ferguson's side are closing in on a record 19th top-flight triumph.

The Gunners still retain a game in hand over their great rivals and - with the teams still set to face each other before the season climax - Arsenal could yet turn the tide back in their favour.

Keown, however, believes United possess more hardened characters and match-winners than his former club and are likely to take the domestic honours this year.

"I think Manchester United have more match winners. When you look at [Wayne] Rooney, who has had a lot of criticism levelled at him, he has been inspired recently," said Keown in an exclusive interview with Sport.co.uk.

"That inspiration comes from digging deep . They were 2-0 down at the weekend, he dug deep and came good for his team. Arsenal need to have the same kind of response from their players, but at the moment they look tired."


 

Arsenal have failed to land any silverware since defeating United in the FA Cup final of 2005 and Keown is of the opinion that the north Londoners' current crop are lacking a winning mentality.

"I think Arsenal are suffering from the lack of trophies. When I was playing we won the Double in 1998 but as a group of players we didn’t win again until 2002 – it is difficult when that happens and you feel the world is against you," added the 44-year-old.

"You keep working hard, you keep going for it and you suffer disappointments...but it is all character building. Arsenal are looking for characters.

"It affects the squad when you don’t have enough players who have won the Premier League. They have those guys at Manchester United. It is very reassuring when you have title winners around you, they get you thinking in the right way, tell you how to behave and support you.

"It’s so important to have people saying, ‘Don’t worry, let’s win this one and we’ll win the league.’ It’s those well-timed comments that get the inexperienced lads over the line."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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