Ferguson not expecting fireworks

Ferguson not expecting fireworks

Published Jan. 21, 2012 4:33 p.m. ET

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is not expecting any fireworks at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Any United meeting with Arsenal triggers memories of their past feuds, notably that Highbury tunnel bust-up between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira in 2005.

However, since that duo were separated, the battles have become less intense, with even Ferguson and Arsene Wenger able to have a cordial relationship - unthinkable when Arsenal were scrapping with United for the major prizes.

"You have to go back a few years to when it was a bit combustible and Keane and Vieira had that love match in the tunnel," Ferguson said.


"It has not been anything like that in the last three years. It has calmed down."

Not that either manager has changed his values, even though Arsenal have not won a trophy since beating United in the 2005 FA Cup final.

"Arsene Wenger has not changed his philosophy," Ferguson said.

"It is his way of doing it and it has paid dividends for Arsenal over a long period.

"He has a different type of player now. They are younger but they are still trying to do the same things.

"They still try to entertain and play the football their way."

And now they have Thierry Henry to help them after the Frenchman opted to join his former club on a short-term deal from the New York Red Bulls until Major League Soccer gets into gear again.

Ferguson has turned the clock back too by signing Paul Scholes, although he feels both deals were "no-brainers".

"Henry and Scholes are one-off players," the Scot said.

"In fairness, Henry has been playing football for Red Bulls so there is not a physical problem with him coming back.

"We were confident with Paul because he was taking part in training sessions every day anyway.

"He had a little bit to make up but he seems to get through the games and training all right. It has been an amazing turnaround for the lad."

Ferguson has confirmed he expects Darren Fletcher to be out for the remainder of the season as he tries to combat a chronic bowel condition.

However, fellow midfielder Tom Cleverley could be back for the February 11 visit of Liverpool to Old Trafford as he steps up his recovery from an ankle injury, whilst Ferguson believes Javier Hernandez is ready to fire after a stop-start campaign so far.

"Javier has had his issues this year," Ferguson said.

"His season has not got going yet.

"But he is looking well now and if we get Hernandez back into the frame of things, what an addition he can be."