Even though there has been no love lost between Arsenal and Manchester United for many years, Sir Alex Ferguson’s latest rant is evidence that he views the Gunners as genuine title contenders.
Sir Alex always enjoys a touch of psychology and, even though it only worked against Kevin Keegan, he usually reserves his barbed comments for teams he wants to peg back.
But not only were his words untrue, they made him look quite foolish.
He told MUTV: “I think Howard Webb has a great chance to be the top referee but today was a big game for him and, at times, he favoured Arsenal.”
Personally I thought the referee did quite well and if anything he denied the North London side a penalty when Hleb had his shirt tugged off his back.
And, hoping to add further fuel to the fire, Sir Alex had another pop at Arsenal for their lack of English players.
“For the good of the game in England, it would be good to see more home-based players at the top clubs.” he told Inside United magazine.
He continued: “I totally agree [with Blatter], but there would be opposition from clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal.”
The Premier League is only a third of the way through but after Arsenal’s undefeated start to the season, Ferguson certainly knows which team will push his side hardest in the title run in.
And from the extent of the mind games so early in the season he is expecting it to go right down to the wire.
I’m sure a lot of people think that building a team around Titus Bramble and Emile Heskey deserves the boot but I think that sacking of poor Chris Hutchings was desperately unfair.
Hutchings was given 12 matches to transform Wigan and, in all fairness, they started off well and rose to the top half of the table.
But after a run of six straight defeats they dropped dramatically and are now in the bottom three.
The reason my heart goes out to Hutchings is because he was never really wanted at the JJB.
He wasn’t unpopular with the fans but Latics chairman Dave Whelan took a calculated risk giving him the post, knowing that if it went horribly wrong he would make a quick change.
And that is exactly what he has done.
Unfortunatley for Hutchings, it is the second time he has been given a crack at the Premier League, it is the second time he has replaced Paul Jewell and it is the second time he was lasted just a dozen games.
I wonder if he would be tempted to take up the assistant’s post in Jewell makes his return?