English Soccer: Man United looking to take top spot

League champion aims to continue winning streak in Premier match.

By JEREMY LAST
October 5, 2007 06:50
3 minute read.
English Soccer: Man United looking to take top spot

manchester united 88. (photo credit: )

Fresh from this week's win over Roma in the Champions League, Manchester United will be looking to continue its rich vein of form against Wigan Athletic in the Premier League on Saturday and go top of the table. The league champion had a bad start to the season, picking up just two points from its first three games. But, since losing to local rival Manchester City on August 19, United has won every game in the league and Europe, keeping a clean sheet in all seven matches. The only blip was last week's loss to Coventry City in the League Cup, a lesser competition. The game at Old Trafford is one of only two Premier League games being played on Saturday. The day's second match will take place at Villa Park where Aston Villa will take on West Ham United. All the remaining teams, including Avraham Grant's Chelsea and top of the league Arsenal, are playing on Sunday. Ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Michael Carrick has become a key member of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United side, but suffered a fractured elbow during the 1-0 win over Roma on Tuesday and has been ruled out for the next six weeks. With Owen Hargreaves and Darren Fletcher also sidelined, the Carrick injury may open the door for Anderson, the Brazilian signed by Ferguson in the summer, although John O'Shea could step up to midfield. United's regular goalkeeper Edwin van de Sar is still out of action after injuring his toe in training, allowing second string goalie Tomasz Kuszczak, who played in the Champions League on Tuesday, to continue between the sticks. The Polish shot-stopper said this week he is determined to prove himself at the top level. "I know I am a good goalkeeper, I just need the opportunity to show it," Kuszczak told United's official Web site. "I don't think about how long I have got to do that. Edwin is injured at the moment, so I have the chance to play in big games and I need to do well. "I want to play more," he added. "That is why it's important for me to perform in every single game. I enjoy every game at Old Trafford because the fans are great and when you have a full stadium, it is a dream to play there." In direct contrast to United's form, Wigan's has been terrible of late. The Latics haven't won a game since winning their first two games of the season, and are coming off the back of last week's 1-0 defeat at Liverpool, where Israel captain Yossi Benayoun scored the only goal of the game. England striker Emile Heskey is unavailable due to a metatarsal injury, and fellow Wigan forward Marcus Bent, who scored in last week's loss to Reading, said he is looking to take his chance. "Emile's a quality striker, an England striker, and should be playing for England every time there is an international game," Bent told the BBC. "But I've not come in and taken his place - I just want to prove that I deserve a place in the team." Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood is looking forward to the visit of his former club West Ham and said he is hoping to get back to the goalscoring form which took him to Birmingham in the summer. Harewood only scored four goals for West Ham last season and has yet to hit the back of the net for his new club, but said this week he wants to repay Villa manager Martin O'Neill's faith in him. "I'm not trying to prove anyone right or wrong, apart from myself," Harewood said to the official Villa Web site. "I had a great season a couple of seasons ago and I want to carry on from there, and enjoy my football." Villa squandered a 4-1 lead at Tottenham on Monday in a game which ended 4-4 and will be expected to get back on track in front of a home crowd in the only 3 p.m. game in England's top division on Saturday. West Ham's former Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy will not play, after suffering a groin injury.


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