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Tom Cleverley: United back in picture

Tom Cleverley has said he believes Manchester United returned to the title race with a bang by beating league leaders Arsenal 1-0 on Sunday and can top the table before long.

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Van Persie delighted with crucial United win

The defending champions' victory over Arsene Wenger’s side took them up from eighth to fifth and means they are now just five points behind the Londoners.

And midfielder Cleverley noted that United now have more points than one of the three pre-season title favourites and are closing in on another.

He said: "This is a big win for us. We are back in the mix. We are ahead of [Manchester] City and not far behind Chelsea. We have also played some very tough games out of our opening 11. I am sure we can get a run together and get right up to the top."

With City and Tottenham also losing on Sunday, Chelsea drawing on Saturday and Arsenal being beaten at Old Trafford, it was an ideal weekend for United.

Cleverley added: "We didn't want them [Arsenal] to go 11 points ahead of us. Going into the game and seeing the weekend's results, we knew it was an extra important three points."

The England international played the second half at Old Trafford, coming on for the injured Nemanja Vidic, and praised the back four for their resilience as United became the first team to stop Arsenal from scoring in the league this season.

He said: "We managed to grind it out in the end with a great defensive performance. That is always going to happen against a team like Arsenal. When they take a few more risks, they start flooding players forward. It is going to be hard defensively, but we withstood the pressure well."

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