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Football: UNITED ARE OVER-RATED; We're as good and we'll prove it raps Arsenal star.

MARC OVERMARS hit Manchester United with a treble whammy before today's Premiership crunch match at Highbury.

Arsenal's Dutch star looked forward to this afternoon's live TV showdown and insisted:

The Gunners are just as good as their biggest rivals;

United will NEVER match last season's epic treble;

United's Champions' Cup win didn't have the same value as previous European Cup wins.

United pipped Arsenal by one point for the title and beat them in the FA Cup semi-final after a last-minute Dennis Bergkamp penalty miss to leave the Gunners empty-handed.

But Overmars, fit again after groin trouble and likely to get a place on the bench today, said: "We believe we're as good as United, that we're their equal.

"Look how close we came last year and we're very strong this season. I feel with the greater stength of our squad we are now better equipped to keep our challenge going to the very end.

"Look at the difference Kanu made last season when he joined us, and if we could have got him or a couple of extra strikers earlier in the season well, who knows?

"Manchester United had great success last year and their expectations are so high again this season. But how can you follow the treble? You can't."

And Overmars, a European Cup winner with Ajax in 1995, believes the Champions' Cup has been devalued by extending it to include non-champions.

Arsenal and United are set to be joined by Chelsea in the Champions' League format next week, and Overmars said: "It's not a Champions' League any more with the number three and four teams getting a chance to play. When I won it with Ajax it was only the teams who finished first who took part. It's not special any more.

"I think the Champions' League is just a starter for what they want to do in the future, create a European League."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Wiechula, Frank
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 22, 1999
Words:318
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