Manchester United can take control of title

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The Independent Football

Manchester United set themselves to take a decisive stranglehold on the Premier League title thanks to their 1-0 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford last night.

Park Ji-sung's solitary first half goal extended their unbeaten start to the season to 16 matches and left them two points clear of the Gunners and Manchester City, whilst still having a game in hand.

And Ferguson knows, if his side can come away from Sunday's trip to Chelsea with another three points, they will start to feel increasingly confident about landing a record 19th league title.

"Sunday is a massive game," said Ferguson. "That will go a long way to establishing what happens at the top of the league.

"We are 16 games undefeated. Now we have to make it 17."

After scoring seven on their last league outing a fortnight ago, United showed a different side to their character, turning in a superb defensive performance to restrict the visitors to just a single chance.

In contrast, United had four excellent ones, including a missed spot-kick from Wayne Rooney which would have sealed the points 17 minutes from time.

"I was surprised at Wayne hitting it over the bar," said Ferguson. "I have never seen him do that before. He normally puts his shots on target.

"Against Rangers he hit it hard and low into the corner. Today he ballooned it over the bar."

Instead, Ferguson was forced to rely on Park's excellent header. It was the South Korean's sixth goal of the season and he is currently enjoying his most consistent form since he first came to the club in 2005.

Little wonder there is an element of frustration at the knowledge the 29-year-old is set to miss seven games immediately after the Boxing Day encounter with Sunderland as he fulfils his commitments for South Korean at the Asian Cup in Qatar.

"Ji is in fantastic form," said Ferguson. "Unfortunately we are going to lose him for seven matches after December 26. It is disappointing."

After their own stuttering start, United have now taken 20 points from their last 24.

"We had to play well tonight, but we have been playing well," said Ferguson.

"The first half was excellent and we should have done better on the counter-attack in the second.

"But our back four did really well. They are really getting their form now.

"If they maintain that consistency, we will have a good chance."