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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 9, 2008

Ferguson targets Stamford Bridge title showdown

Sir Alex Ferguson has identified Manchester United's trip to Chelsea as the make-or-break match for their Premier League title ambitions.

United travel to Stamford Bridge on April 26 and, with both clubs and Arsenal still very much in the race, Ferguson believes the outcome of that game could be decisive.

Ferguson said: 'The games between the three clubs will be very important. We have to go to Chelsea in April and that could be the crucial game given their home record.

'We have Arsenal and Liverpool at home, and we still have to go to Blackburn, so there are some difficult games ahead for us and for the others - Arsenal have to go to Chelsea and come to our place.'

United's match against Manchester City tomorrow is a must-win game, even more so given the fact it will also be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

Ferguson hopes that the club have done all they can to ensure that the 3,000 City fans due to come to Old Trafford will respect the minute's silence before the game.

He added: 'Hopefully we are killing that problem by closing the gates five minutes before kick-off so people don't arrive late already singing and chanting, and then opening the gates afterwards.

'It was right to have a minute's silence as it is an especially poignant time for English football.'

Danny Welbeck is set to become the latest heir apparent to the Busby Babes with Ferguson set to thrust him into the team tomorrow.

Ferguson has revealed that due to his shortage of strikers he may pick the 17-year-old forward to face City.

With Wayne Rooney suspended and Louis Saha injured, Ferguson is desperately short of forwards and Welbeck has impressed him hugely in recent weeks.

The teenager has yet to make his competitive debut but did play for part of United's friendly in Saudi Arabia last month after which the manager announced he would stay with the senior squad for the remainder of the season.

Ferguson said: 'I may bring in the boy Welbeck, possibly from the start.

'The boy has a chance of making it. We think he has that temperament.

'I think we want to keep Cristiano Ronaldo as a wide player, we are short up front, Louis Saha is not back and we could have played Ryan Giggs through the middle but I think Welbeck has got the temperament.'

Ferguson added there were many comparisons between Matt Busby's team of 1958 and the latest generation of United stars.

He added: 'They had so many young players then who were so exciting and I think the young players we have these days are equally exciting, doing the same thing Manchester United have done in the past.'

Both teams will be wearing special shirts to commemorate the disaster, in which eight United players died as well as former City goalkeeper Frank Swift, who was working as a sports reporter.

Ferguson does not expect City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson to spring any surprises though he will try to predict who will replace the absent Brazilian playmaker Elano.

'Sven has made sure they are defensively tight, in the main it has been one striker and I expect he will do that, most teams do at Old Trafford,' added Ferguson.

'He will have to replace Elano so we will try to work that one out but he is generally consistent with his selection so we should know what to expect.'

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