Man Utd face Pompey in title ‘driving seat’

A disgruntled Rafa Benitez was left to reflect on two points dropped.
Arsenal’s 4-4 draw at Liverpool has handed Manchester United the advantage in the English title race as they entertain Portsmouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez conceded after the eight-goal thriller that United were now in the “driving seat” — level on points with two games in hand. But United manager Alex Ferguson is refusing to be distracted by the performance of his nearest challengers. “It doesn’t matter when Liverpool play,” Ferguson told Press Association. “We are focused enough on what we have got to do.” United, for whom Paul Scholes is set to make a 600th appearance, will be back to full strength after fielding a weakened team in the penalty shootout defeat to Everton in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Sunday. “You have to overcome defeats at some points in a season,” added Ferguson. ” “We only lost the semi-final on penalties and that can happen to anyone. There is enough motivation to ensure we will be OK against Portsmouth.” Victory that will take them three points clear, with a game in hand and only six remaining to play. Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Edwin van der Sar are all set to return, along with Ryan Giggs and Scholes, who came on as a substitute at Wembley.

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Meanwhile Benitez is left on another 4-4 spectacular with Yossi Benayoun’s last-gasp goal at least earning them a point to go top on goal difference. “We have a point against a good team and we are top. We have to keep pushing until the last game. It’s football, you never know,” he said. It was another remarkable 4-4 draw for Liverpool after their thrilling Champions League exit and a leading bookmaker in England paid out more than $750,000 after punters backed a repeat scoreline. “Twice as many people backed 4-4 last night, it’s turning into an epidemic,” said a spokeman for Paddy Power.