views

Carrick strike brings United within reach

SIR ALEX FERGUSON insisted he will not be taking Arsenal lightly on Saturday despite needing just one point to be crowned Premier League champions.<br /><br />Michael Carrick&rsquo;s winner four minutes from time handed United a hard-fought victory over brave Wigan, meaning Ferguson&rsquo;s men need just avoid defeat against the Gunners to clinch a record-equalling 18th itle.<br /><br />Want-away striker Carlos Tevez climbed off the bench to cancel out Hugo Rogallega&rsquo;s earlier strike before Carrick carved open a six-point gap over Liverpool with a cool 18-yard strike to steal victory.<br /><br />But although all bets are off on United sealing a third successive title, Ferguson refuses to take anything for granted against out-of-form Gunners side. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll approach the game the way we always approach a game,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It is against a very good Arsenal side &ndash; I don&rsquo;t take any notice of what is written, they are a very good side.&rdquo;<br /><br />Of the Wigan success, Ferguson commented: &ldquo;We were fantastic in the second half. We kept going, got a little break and we were the better team. A really gutsy performance.&rdquo;<br /><br />Ferguson opted to restore Wayne Rooney to the attack at the expense of Tevez, plunging the Argentinian&rsquo;s Old Trafford future into further doubt.<br /><br />But it was Wigan, managed by former United captain Steve Bruce, who showed the more attacking endeavour early on, and they were rewarded on 28 minutes when Rodallega out-muscled Nemanja Vidic before shooting low past Edwin van der Sar.<br /><br />United still ooked the more dangerous, with Rooney twice going close, although they were continually frustrated by the hard-working Latics.<br /><br />Ferguson&rsquo;s response was to bring on Tevez for Anderson and within four minutes the Argentinian had brought United level with a sublime finish &ndash; directing Carrick&rsquo;s off-target shot past keeper Richard Kingson.<br /><br />With the title in sight, United then went for the jugular and after a period of intense pressure, John O&rsquo;Shea teed up Carrick to lash home a rising left-foot drive to ensure his side could place one hand on the trophy.