Wenger backs Manchester United for title

Arsène Wenger said yesterday that Liverpool's win over Manchester United "flattered" Rafael Benitez's side and that United were still favourites to win the league.

The Arsenal manager will have to play second-string goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in his side's FA Cup quarter-final against Hull City tonight as well as 19-year-old left-back Kieran Gibbs.

The Polish goalkeeper Fabianski will play because Manuel Almunia is injured and a doubt for the game against Newcastle United on Saturday. He and Gibbs both started in the 3-0 win over Burnley in the previous round.

"At the moment I go from game to game and we know we have a cup game every game," Wenger said. "The coincidence for the Hull game is that it is a cup game, but even if it was a Premier League game I would have picked the same side."

Wenger, whose side are 13 points behind United, is unconvinced anyone can catch the champions, despite Liverpool's win on Saturday. "There are two things I'd like to say. Firstly, congratulations to Liverpool for winning with an emphatic score, but I think... it is a very flattering score.

"For big spells in the game, Manchester United dominated but they made mistakes on the day that usually they don't do. Some players looked a bit mentally tired. It opens up the race for the title, even though I still believe Manchester United are in a strong position with the game in hand."

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