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United keeper Van der Sar aims to keep it clean one more time to claim a Premier League record

Edwin van der Sar is on the brink of adding another record to his glittering career tonight and manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes the veteran Dutchman still holds the key to Manchester United’s title bid.
Van der Sar, 38, is set to return to the starting line-up against West Bromwich Albion after being rested for the Carling Cup and FA Cup victories over Derby and Tottenham over the past seven days.

And if he goes 84 minutes at The Hawthorns without conceding, he will break Petr Cech’s Premier League shut-out record of 1,025 minutes, set in 2005.

Ferguson’s team go into the game aiming to achieve a Premier League record of 11 consecutive clean sheets, having not conceded a goal since Samir Nasri’s 48th-minute strike in the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on November 8.

Van der Sar, who has played in each of United’s shut-outs, has not been beaten in the League for 942 minutes. And Ferguson admits that the Dutchman’s experience
and calm assurance have proved crucial in United’s recent surge to the top of the table.

Ferguson said: ‘Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans have been superb for some time now and their performances in front of Edwin have helped us equal Chelsea’s record of 10 consecutive League games without conceding.

‘Edwin’s calmness and concentration are doing us a power of good and he’s playing as well as he has ever done. This season, I’ve given him breaks and he didn’t like it at first, but I think he sees the wisdom now in me nursing a player of his age through the season.
'He has certainly been at a peak during our recent run.’
United can open a three-point lead over closest challengers Liverpool - who face Wigan at the JJB Stadium tomorrow - with a win against the Premier League’s bottom club tonight.

Ferguson added: ‘Edwin’ s experience, he has won 20 club honours during his career, will count for a lot in the coming weeks because the smell of the title run-in
is there and I’m looking for us to raise our game even more. We’ve been on a good run lately and what we want now is a great run.’
Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to overcome a virus in order to face Tony Mowbray’s men. The Portugal winger has failed to score a League goal for United since netting
twice in the 5-0 win over Stoke at Old Trafford on November 15.

But although Ronaldo returned to the scoresheet with a penalty in the Carling Cup semi-final win over Derby last week, Ferguson insists that he has no concerns over the FIFA World Player of the Year’s recent form.
Ferguson said: ‘I don’t think confidence affects Ronaldo. He is a very confident lad and he has belief in his own ability. He has been missing a few chances that he was putting away last season, but he has still made 10 goals for us this time around and
scored 10.
‘By the end of the season, he’ll still be over 20 goals, which is a fantastic return for a winger. You do have these exceptional seasons, like Cristiano enjoyed last season,
but it’s hard to replicate it every year.’

West Bromwich have failed to take maximum points from United at The Hawthorns since a 2-0 victory in March 1984 and Ferguson’s men are huge favourites to record another win tonight.

But the United boss has warned his players against complacency by insisting that this season’s Premier League is tougher than ever.

He said: ‘Teams are so well matched that there is great movement up and down the division for a lot of clubs, and a couple of wins can catapult a team from a relegation position to mid-table.

‘Make a mistake at this level and it’s odds on you’ll be punished. It’s very unforgiving. The Premier League really is a formidable competition.’

Former Reading goalkeeper, the late Steve Death, holds the all-time Football League record at 1,103 minutes in 1978-79.

16,798 Posts
Clarky101 said:
lmao thats why everyone hates us united fans. Most clubs would be over the moon with a 4-1 win the in the premier league. but not us. 4-1 just wont do :p
We would normally be happy with 4-1 but tonight we don't want to concede. I'll be happy with 1-0 tonight tbh. Just so long was we win, the clean-sheet is a bonus.

4,457 Posts
peterswellman said:
Firstly to hell with the record. 3 points are first and foremost. We have so many players out it won't be a stroll.
Understand where your coming from but West Brom are struggling with injuries too, i heard they are down to about 5 regulars, and all their back 4 are out.

But as you said, i'd take a 3-2 win, 3points!!!
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