The respect stops here, Gooners

By Avenell Dave

It's a curious thing, football.

It's a soap opera where moments of inspiration sit aside episodes of despicable gamesmanship. It's the nature of sport.

But a strange thing has happened in the last few years.

Arsene Wenger and RedN*se Fergie seem to have become, if not friends, then respectful of each other.

Where there used to be sniping and embitterment, now there is a sense of understanding and admiration.

Perhaps what brought them to blows in years past, that determination to win and defend their team no matter what is now the bond that joins them together while others come and go.

Even today, Le Boss defended M*nure's decision to appeal Rio Chavband's ban because of the Manchester derby while RedN*se Fergie wants an end to the stupid chants that show M*nure fans for the guttersnipes they really are.

It's all nice and rosy.

But, while the detente has come at a time when Arsenal have perhaps not been such as great a threat as they once were, I hope we leave the niceties at home on Sunday.

You can bet your life that Darren Fletcher will get in the faces of the Arsenal team, make a few clumsy tackles and probably try to maim Cesc Fabregas.

The referee will come under huge scrutiny from RedN*se for timekeeping, fitness, decisions and not booking Arsenal players at every given turn.

Le Boss will flap his hands and edge towards the touchline in an attempt to allow the beautiful game to take place.

I was thinking earlier today that, while I HATE Shrek Rooney, I'd love to have him in our side.

He may be a dirty cheating scumbag but he has talent and desire and if he was wearing our colours, we'd adore him.

He's hurt us enough times in the past though - even winning a penalty at G*ld Trafford earlier this season and while the hype is about Big Sol looking after him, I think William Gallas should be given that task.

Apart from Shrek and Ryan Giggs, United don't have a huge amount of talent that can hurt us, if we're playing at the top of our game.

The problem is, we don't have a lot of firepower either, especially with the misfiring Eduardo out and Nik Bendtner struggling to get fit.

It begs the question why Wenger didn't sign a striker up on January 1, who would by now be ready and willing for this killer run of games that will shape our season.

There's a lot of pressure on our attacking players, but a forward line of Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky and Samire Nasri could create all kinds of problems for M*nure, as long as we keep it tight at the other end.

Alex Song needs to go in hard early on and show that we will not be bullied as we have done in other games against this lot - and Cesc needs to keep his wits about him to avoid the hacks that will come his way.

Football is a sport and a bit of sportsmanship and cameraderie between rivals is in some ways the epitome of the beautiful game.

But I kind of want us all to jeer the hell out of M*nure on Sunday, leave the handshakes at the door and remind everyone that we are in this title race until the very end.