LONDON May 12 Manchester United fans will be
delighted by the twist of fate that could see their team secure
a record 19th top-flight championship on Saturday, the same day
Manchester City appear in the FA Cup final.
United have their own Wembley appointment for the Champions
League final with Barcelona on May 28 and UEFA's demands for two
weeks of protection for the pitch before that game is why the FA
Cup final is, unusually, being played before the end of the
Premier League season.
City face Stoke City at Wembley at 1400 GMT by which time
the day's league games will be over and United, should they draw
at Blackburn Rovers, will be celebrating their 19th title and
12th under manager Alex Ferguson.
Should Manchester City land their first major trophy since
1976 after decades of living in United's shadow, it would be a
reminder of the second and last time they won the league in
Pipping their neighbours on the final day of the season 43
years ago, their achievement was upstaged two weeks later when
United became the first English team to win the European Cup.
Last Sunday's 2-1 win over second-placed Chelsea gave United
76 points against the London club's 70 with two games remaining.
Chelsea host Newcastle United on Sunday and their realistic
target now is to hold off Arsenal, who host Aston Villa on the
same day, to finish as runners-up.
Arsenal are also looking over their shoulders at
fourth-placed Manchester City.
City's midweek win over Tottenham Hotspur took them within
two points of third spot which offers automatic progress to the
group stage of the Champions League.
The team in fourth goes into the qualifying round playoff
for Europe's elite club competition.
Manchester United have drawn nine and lost four of their 18
away games -- hardly the form of champions -- but at home they
have been all-powerful, winning 17 and drawing one.
"Everyone has said this is not a good United team, that we
are not this or not that," Ferguson said this week.
"But we have scored more goals that anyone else, our home
form has been magnificent, we are undefeated in Europe, we are
in the Champions League final and we will win the league by
getting one more point."
There is a huge game at the other end of the table on Sunday
when Wigan Athletic, second-last on 36 points, host bottom club
West Ham United who have 33.
Anything but a win for West Ham would probably mean
relegation while a draw is unlikely to be much use for Wigan
Blackpool, also on 36 points, need to win their home game
against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday while Wolverhampton
Wanderers (37), who gave themselves a good chance of survival by
beating West Bromwich Albion last week, visit Sunderland on the
(Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story