Ferguson rules City out of championship race

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The Independent Football

The title has come down to a two-horse race between Manchester United and Arsenal, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, Ferguson gave short shrift to John Terry's wishful suggestion that United might stumble as the pressure mounts by ruling Chelsea out of contention.

United have not won at Chelsea for nine years, and their away record this season is coming under increasing scrutiny – eight draws in 11 Premier League games. This afternoon they are away too, at Wigan Athletic, but that offers a rather less obvious challenge. United have won all 11 of their Premier League meetings; the focus, despite Ferguson's efforts, remains on Chelsea.

"You try things. We all try things," said Ferguson of Terry's claim before removing the defending champions from this season's equation. "But it won't be easy to come back from that kind of points deficit.

"You come towards the end and there are always two teams and that's the way it's looking. I think Arsenal [or] ourselves will win it."

Ferguson accepted that United's away form had to improve, and promptly, as today's trip to the DW Stadium is followed by the visit to London and then to Anfield a week tomorrow. "Our away form has not been as good as it normally is," he said. "That's the acid test. Our record at Chelsea recently has been poor and we have to do something about that. We used to have a great record down there, but Wigan is the most important one and we have to concentrate on this."

Michael Owen could play some part for United today, having made a quicker than expected recovery from a groin injury that had threatened to end his season.