Eboué wants Arsenal to 'not be scared' in bid to derail United

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The Independent Football

Emmanuel Eboue has urged Arsenal's players to show no fear when they attempt to derail Manchester United's march towards the Premier League title on Sunday.

Having seen their own championship challenge all but evaporate at Bolton at the weekend, the shoe is now on the other foot for the Gunners, who could blow the championship race wide open by beating United at the Emirates Stadium.

It would also allow Arsenal to keep the pressure on Chelsea for the runners-up spot as they could find themselves six points adrift of the Blues by the time they kick-off on Sunday.

United will arrive in London full of confidence, having produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Schalke 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday night and put one foot in the Champions League final.

They have also won five of their past six meetings with Arsenal, including their last two games at the Emirates. But Eboué, who is hoping for a recall having been dropped after needlessly giving away a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool 10 days ago, insists it would be fatal for the Gunners to consider themselves anything less than United's equals.

"We need to respect them and play our football, don't be scared," he said. "Play our football and we will see after the game."

The game could be one of Eboué's last in an Arsenal shirt if reports are to be believed. The Ivorian defender is said to be one of several players in danger of being moved on following what is set to be the club's sixth successive season without silverware.

But should he earn a recall on Sunday, he may square off against the most decorated player in the history of English football, Ryan Giggs. Despite having turned 37 this season, United midfielder Giggs remains one of the most influential players at Old Trafford and could yet add another two major trophies to his collection.

Eboué said: "When he plays, he's like he's 20 because he's everywhere, he runs everywhere. So you have to be careful about him."

Meanwhile, the Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is confident goalkeeper Ben Foster will be fit to face relegation-threatened Wolves this weekend.

The England international was forced off in the first half of Saturday's 5-0 defeat at Liverpool with a stiff back and a dead leg after being injured trying to prevent the second goal.

However, neither problem has proved to be too serious and the 28-year-old is likely to keep his place in the starting line-up on Sunday.

"Ben has made great progress," McLeish said. "We were worried about him after he hobbled off the bus on Saturday night but the last couple of days he's had a lot of treatment and relief and we expect him to make it on Sunday."