Scholes relishing title twists and turns

LONDON - Paul Scholes has seen and done it all before but the thought of the closing weeks of what promises to be the most tense finale to a Premier League title chase for many years still gets his pulse racing.

His Manchester United team, who lead by a nose from Chelsea and Arsenal, go to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday with Scholes targetting the first of seven wins that will bring a fourth consecutive title and a record 19th championship in all.

Chelsea, who returned to form with a 5-0 rout of Portsmouth in midweek to lie one point behind United, host Aston Villa while Arsenal, two points behind in third spot, travel to Birmingham City.

Scholes, who along with Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville is part of the Old Trafford furniture, may be 35 but his knack of finding space in dangerous areas and his dead-eye shooting mean he is invaluable to United when the pressure cranks up.

The midfielder's hunger for a 10th Premier League winner's medal is also undiminished and while not an automatic starter these days he will be in the thick of the action in the coming weeks.

"Once you start winning trophies you don't want to stop," Scholes told United's television channel. "Maybe that experience will help us, maybe we know what it takes to win the league.

"But every season's different and throws up new twists and new challenges - all we can do is hope we react to those challenges in the right way.

"The title run-in is always exciting," added Scholes, who says the chance of being the first club to win four in a row was adding another dimension.

ONE STEP FURTHER

"It would be great. Three titles in a row was a big achievement and now we want to go one step further. But if we want to win the league we're going to have to win every game. It'll be tough but I'm sure we can do it."

United's lead over Chelsea, who visit Old Trafford next weekend, is wafer thin especially as Carlo Ancelotti's side matched the leaders on goal difference at Fratton Park on Wednesday.

Those who wrote off Chelsea's chances last week when they dropped points at Blackburn Rovers have suddenly gone quiet.

Didier Drogba took his league tally for the season to 24 with two goals against Portsmouth and the Ivory Coast striker is Chelsea's talisman.

"I am looking at what he can do the next nine games. I hope he hasn't finished scoring," Ancelotti said as he looked ahead to the first of two clashes with Aston Villa, the team they also meet in the FA Cup semi-finals.

"We need to maintain this spirit. We have to prepare these nine games like a final."

Arsenal, who went top last Saturday only to be overtaken again, do not have destiny in their own hands but their run-in looks slightly less arduous than that of their rivals.

With Barcelona looming in the Champions League next week they can afford no slip-ups at Birmingham where they will be without injured William Gallas and suspended Thomas Vermaelen and also have doubts over striker Nicklas Bendtner.

Below the title battle, Tottenham Hotspur are in pole position for fourth spot and a place in the Champ