Ferguson fears referees could hand the title back to Chelsea

Manchester United manager attacks officials in the wake of leaders' 1-0 defeat to Arsenal

Sir Alex Ferguson raised the temperature ahead of next weekend's crucial contest with Chelsea at Old Trafford when he claimed referees could be handing the Premier League title to the holders.

United's lead over Chelsea is now just three points, and should the Londoners win Sunday's match they would go top on goal difference.

With one eye on that game, Ferguson launched a trademark tirade at referees in general after yesterday's 1-0 defeat by Arsenal, and said he feared Chelsea will get a soft decision in next weekend's potential title decider.

Ferguson also noted that Chelsea were awarded a "ghost goal" against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday even though Frank Lampard's shot did not cross the line, and Salomon Kalou also appeared to be offside before he scored their winner.

The abrasive Manchester United manager said: "Obviously, it gives Chelsea a major chance now and that's what happens. They got great decisions [on Saturday] for them. We never seem to get these kind of decisions. They seem to be getting them. They got one to win the league at Old Trafford last season so that's a worry."

His claims of a conspiracy theory made him sound like Jose Mourinho, who moaned that Barcelona get all the refereeing decisions following Real Madrid's 2-0 defeat last week. But Ferguson needs to be careful after he was given a five-match touchline ban in March for disparaging claims about referee Martin Atkinson.

For more than a year now Ferguson has been complaining that Chelsea get the big decisions when the two teams meet. He was unhappy about John Terry's winner at Stamford Bridge in November 2009, claimed Didier Drogba was offside before he scored the decisive goal in Chelsea's 2-1 victory at Old Trafford last April; and he incurred the five-game ban for questioning the integrity of Atkinson after he failed to dismiss Chelsea's David Luiz in their 2-1 victory in March. One oversight, however, is a blatant penalty that should have gone Chelsea's way when Ramires was fouled by Patrice Evra in last month's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Stamford Bridge.

The United manager was disgruntled his team had not been awarded a late penalty yesterday when Michael Owen was caught by Gaël Clichy, but he played down the blatant handball in the first half by Nemanja Vidic that was also missed by the match officials.

"I've seen the two incidents. The first one was a definite flick of the hand from Vidic but it's very difficult to see that one," Ferguson told Sky. "But we all had a clear view of the second one. It was a clear penalty kick. We're not going to get decisions like that in a major game. They are too big a game. We don't seem to get these decisions.

"It balances out in that respect but I think it was difficult to see that one [Vidic's handball] – [Robin] Van Persie was the only one who complained. But the one at the end, Clichy knew, he put his hands up in horror."

Aaron Ramsey decided the match when he applied a simple finish to a flowing counter-attack in the 56th minute, with his first goal for Arsenal since his leg was broken in two places in February 2010 by Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross.

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said: "I am very happy for Ramsey, when you think his incident happened 14 months ago and only now he looks just to be back to his best."

Van Persie rubbed salt in United's wounds by questioning their desire. "In the end I think we played better. We wanted it more. They played just on the counter-attack so in the end, I think, a fair result," he said.

Arsenal were without captain Cesc Fabregas, who was ruled out with a thigh injury he had picked up during a training session on Saturday. In addition Samir Nasri, with a hamstring injury, did not return for the second half.

Wenger said: "Samir has a small hamstring problem, Cesc has a kick on his thigh that disrupted some fibres. We will know on Tuesday if he can practise again. Cesc has a chance to play on Sunday."

Schalke crash to Bayern

* Schalke prepared for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg trip to Manchester United with a 4-1 defeat at Bayern Munich on Saturday. Arjen Robben's sixth-minute opener was cancelled out by a Holger Badstuber own goal before goals from Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez put Bayern 3-1 ahead after 19 minutes, Müller later adding his second.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum