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Strong belief in emulating the 1999 treble must surely be gripping Old Trafford after Manchester United’s somewhat fortuitous 1-0 win at Chelsea in their Champions League quarter-final first leg, but Alex Ferguson and his troops will also be aware they are still a long way from crossing the finish line first in any competition.
With Wayne Rooney losing his appeal to have a two-game ban reduced and the ever-present threat of injuries crippling a squad well short of the talent of the 1999 crop, United will once again have to dig deep into their resources as the strength-sapping season reaches its climax.
United are seven points clear of Arsenal in the Premier League but what belies this seemingly big advantage in the run-in is the fact that Arsenal have a game in hand and only the league title to play for, which could be a telling factor when United visit the Emirates Stadium on May 1.
With Rooney out of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on April 16 there is no chance of him repeating the spectacular overhead kick which gave United a 2-1 win in their league fixture and Ferguson’s men may well find the going much more difficult against their fired-up neighbours, who have no other chance of silverware.