Derby win over City boosts United's title hopes, Giggs says

Welsh veteran says the Old Trafford side are in the driving seat to win the league after defeating bitter rivals in the Manchester derby last week

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 3:00am

Manchester United star Ryan Giggs said his side's derby triumph over Manchester City has provided the perfect springboard to wrestle the title away from Eastlands.

United moved six points clear of second placed City after an explosive 3-2 win over their bitter rivals in the Manchester derby last Sunday and Alex Ferguson's team have a golden opportunity to extend their lead this weekend.

While spluttering champions City have a tricky assignment today at Newcastle, United host lowly Sunderland on the back of four successive league victories and with confidence sky-high following Robin van Persie's stoppage-time winner at Eastlands.

Giggs has seen 12 previous title-winning teams take shape during his career at United and the veteran Welsh midfielder is beginning to sense another dominant team at Old Trafford.

Asked if the win over City would provide a major boost, Giggs said: "It should do, purely because of the way we performed.

"We have got everything in place for the busy Christmas period and the confidence of such a great result.

"We accept that we are letting too many goals in and we've had to come from behind too often, but the signs are there that this could be a very good season.

"The wins against Chelsea, Newcastle and City away have been our three best performances and you probably can't get three bigger challenges."

While Giggs and his United teammates can contemplate a successful second half of the season, City are facing a fight to salvage their campaign.

Roberto Mancini's side have already crashed out of the Champions League and another setback at Newcastle this weekend would deal a hammer blow to their hopes of retaining the title.

Last weekend's loss to United exposed City's flaws in defence and attack as they were beaten at home for the first time in the league since December 2010.

United defender Patrice Evra rubbed salt into the wounds by claiming they now have the mental edge, but defiant City captain Vincent Kompany remains convinced the title race isn't over yet.

"I don't know anything about psychological blows," he said. "Losing on Sunday changes nothing. We lost and we move on to the next game.

"The beauty of football is that you are always challenged, whether you have lost or won, and the next game is always the most important.

"We all know the importance of the [Newcastle] game but I don't do very well thinking about bad scenarios.

"For me there are so many positives that can happen if we win that game. I can't think of the other side of that coin."

Elsewhere, the spotlight will be firmly on Arsene Wenger on Monday when Arsenal travel to Reading hoping to erase the painful memory of Tuesday's humiliating League Cup quarter-final defeat at Bradford.

Wenger suffered the most embarrassing loss of his 16-year reign as League Two minnows Bradford won 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw and he has come under heavy fire from critics.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson said Wenger was a "dictator", while reports claim he has fallen out with his assistant Steve Bould.

Wenger, whose side are currently seventh, can ill-afford to see Arsenal beaten by second bottom Reading, who have won just one of their first 16 matches, and the Frenchman admits he is feeling under pressure to turn the tide. "I always feel under pressure to deliver, always," Wenger said.


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