By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger admits he is “crazy” to harbour any lingering hopes of overhauling Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

On Saturday afternoon, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost for the second successive weekend. The result allowed Arsenal to close the gap to 10 points with a thumping 3-1 win at Newcastle the same evening. With only eight games left, it would take a total collapse by Manchester United, let alone Liverpool and Chelsea, for Arsenal to finish on top. But, speaking afterwards, Wenger could not quite bring himself to rule it out entirely.

“I still have hope because I am a little bit crazy,” he said. “Realistically, no [it is not on]. But it does not matter how much chance that we have, we have to get as close as possible.”

Despite their troubles, Manchester United are still the side to beat and Wenger argues that their recent defeats are just the blip that all the “Big Four’ have suffered at some point this term.

“It happens to teams,” he said. “Manchester United are still in a strong position.

“No team has looked like they were not vulnerable at all this year. Nobody has been really dominating this League this year. We have all had our weak periods.   Manchester United won 10 games 1-0 and they have the quality to finish it off. But you can see how important psychology is to a team.

“They had a big disappointment last week. That is difficult for everybody.

“When you have a big knock it sometime takes you a long time to recover but they will recover.

“I am sure of that because their manager has experience, their players have experience and they have one game in hand.”

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23 Mar 2009