By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger admits that it will be “very difficult” for anyone to catch Premier League leaders Manchester United.

The champions’ 2-1 victory at Newcastle on Wednesday evening extended their lead at the top to seven points with a game in hand.

And, despite acknowledging that Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have not looked at their dominating best this season, Wenger declared that those three points at St James’ Park might ensure that the Premier League trophy stays in Manchester for another season.

“Last night could be a decider because if they win their game in hand, they are 10 points clear with 10 games to go,” said the manager. “It will be very difficult to catch them.

“They are in a very strong position now I must say. I saw the whole game last night live. Newcastle played very well, especially in the first half and they were leading 1-0. They missed an opportunity to score the second one but Man United came back and took the three points.

“I didn’t feel this year that performance-wise there was a gap between Man Utd and the rest but suddenly we are there so we have to consider that in points there is one.

“But they never won by three or four like they did in some periods but they are always consistent and manage to win 1-0 where the other teams make a draw. They have the strongest squad certainly.”

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5 Mar 2009