Strong squad will help United stay top, says Saha

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The Independent Online

Louis Saha is confident Manchester United's superior squad strength can help them sweep all before them this season.

While Chelsea's personnel problems are mounting and Arsenal's performances have started to dip, United appear to be hitting top form. Even with Carlos Tevez and Patrice Evra on the bench, Edwin van der Sar and Owen Hargreaves injured and promising midfielder Anderson left at home altogether, United still swept Sunderland aside with the minimum of fuss at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day.

Saha contributed his first two Premier League goals since September, yet the French forward knows he is almost certain to be back on the bench on Saturday as United look to complete a 100 per cent record in December by beating West Ham at Upton Park.

And with Park Ji-sung making his comeback from major knee surgery on Wearside and long-serving duo Gary Neville and Paul Scholes both expected back in action before the end of next month, it is little wonder United having retaken their place at the top of the table are odds-on favourites to stay there.

"The squad we have is amazing," said Saha. "It is strong in every position. A few players did not even travel yesterday and we still have Paul Scholes and Gary Neville to come back. We are all aware this is a difficult period. Any team who has not got the right squad will struggle during that time because fitness-wise, it is very hard. Mentally, you have to be very strong. That is why the manager has been very clever."

West Ham are notoriously hard opponents for United to overcome and despite the Londoners' dire campaign last year, they still managed to record the double over Ferguson's side.

However, the usual abuse for the visitors may be tempered by the presence of Tevez in United's ranks. It was Tevez who guaranteed West Ham's Premier League survival last term with his winner at United on the final day and while the South American represents a major threat to Alan Curbishley's team, he is sure to be afforded a warm reception from the home fans.

"Every game in the Premier League is difficult but West Ham especially so," said Saha. "It has been very hard for us on a couple of occasions there. But we have every reason to be confident after the results we have had and that is what we have to do on Saturday."

Injury-plagued Saha confirmed his confidence is now fully restored after following up a neat first-half strike with a late penalty on Wednesday. "Scoring gives me confidence," he said. "I need that. I need to get back to the basics as a striker and that is scoring goals. It was good to start. I had the opportunity to do a few things and now I feel really good. It is great to be on the scoresheet again."

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