Van der Sar a star
Edwin van der Sar is revelling in his new Premier League record for clean sheets.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson feels the side's amazing defensive performances mean more to the goalkeeper than all his other honours combined.
The 38-year-old has not conceded a league goal for 1,122 minutes, stretching back 12 matches to Samir Nasri's strike in Arsenal's 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on 8th November.
It has put him in line for what many feel will be a British record if he keeps West Ham United out for a further 75 minutes at Upton Park on Saturday.
Current record-holder Chris Woods disputes the tag, claiming van der Sar is actually four matches away from beating the record he achieved at Rangers as Van der Sar conceded three times against Gamba Osaka at the Club World Cup in December.
But while that argument is yet to be resolved, Ferguson can see what a dramatic effect van der Sar's 12-match sequence without conceding is having on the veteran Dutchman.
"The record has left Edwin revelling in a personal achievement that seems to be giving him as much pleasure as all the many honours he has won with Ajax and Juventus, as well as winning 123 caps with Holland," said Ferguson.
"His great experience, allied to youthful enthusiasm, marks him out as a very special goalkeeper."
Ferguson is not giving van der Sar all the credit though as he is equally amazed by the performance of a defence that has been forced to operate at less than full capacity for the past three months.
Rio Ferdinand played his first match since United were crowned world champions in the five-goal destruction of West Bromwich albion, when Wes Brown also returned following ankle surgery.
This weekend Patrice Evra is due to feature once more after damaging his foot in the win over Chelsea a month ago.
"The defensive record is remarkable because this is the part of the team that has been most affected in recent weeks by injury," said Ferguson. "But everyone has rallied round."
Of equal interest is Wayne Rooney's fitness. The striker has been out since picking up a hamstring injury against Wigan on 14th January but with England manager Fabio Capello due at West Ham it will be interesting to see whether Rooney is included in the England squad to face Spain in Seville next week when it is announced on Saturday evening.