Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson would love to be top after the busy festive programme.

There is every chance of that as United have a six-point lead and four matches over the festive period - starting with tomorrow's trip to Swansea.

Add to that the fact the Red Devils invariably crank up the gears in the second half of a season and the signs would be ominous for City and Chelsea.

Fergie said: "We know there are going to be challenges, it could come from Chelsea too, but I think City and ourselves will be battling it out.

"We have every right to expect a challenge. I think that's what we're good at.

"That's why I'm looking at December as an opportunity to gather points and make sure we are top of the league come New Year's Day.

"And if we are top on New Year's Day, everyone else knows fine well that we're going to be in the ballpark at the end of the season."