31/08/2009 09:01,
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The Manager's column

I’m delighted to welcome Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team to Old Trafford for an early crack at one of the top four clubs.

One of our targets this season is to do better against the big boys of the Premier League. The Gunners took four points off us last season while Liverpool took all six. We did OK against Chelsea with a win and a draw, but overall, if we are to hang on to our championship title, we need to improve against our immediate rivals.

It’s an area we have identified as a weakness and we aim to do something about it. We know we won’t win every match – Burnley have already reminded us of that factor in no uncertain fashion – but we can cope with one or two bad results. What we mustn’t do again is to concede points to our most dangerous opponents.

We won the Premier League last season with 90 points and we have got to be prepared to reach that kind of total again if we are to go all the way. The race went to the wire last time, mainly because of the six points we lost to Liverpool, and I don’t want to see us in that kind of situation this season.

You might argue that Arsenal were not our closest challengers last year but they could be this time. I never underestimate an Arsenal team under Wenger and I fancy they will be stronger this time. They found themselves under fire towards the end of last season but the critics failed to appreciate that they had been without some of their important players – like Fabregas, Gallas and Van Persie – at key times.

Arsene has also been busy making adjustments to his squad with one or two players leaving. Like ourselves, when he sees the time is right to move someone on, he doesn’t hesitate. He acts, sometimes leaving fans puzzled because they don’t fully understand what can be happening inside the club.

Good management is not just about buying players, it is just as important to know the right time to sell and at a good price! It’s what is important for the club, not individuals, that

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