Club Focus – Manchester United – Injury boost for United as trio passed fit

Manchester United have received a major boost ahead of tonight’s game against Arsenal with Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes all recovering from niggling injuries. Evra had been struggling with his fitness, Scholes had trained at the start of last week but felt a re-occurrence of the groin injury that kept him out since mid-November and Ferdinand tweaked his hamstring in United’s draw with Valencia. Wes Brown and Jonny Evans have both recovered from virus’ and are also available for selection.

 Scholes’ availability is the biggest surprise after he had been rated as “doubtful” by his manager Sir Alex Ferguson the day before his return to fitness was confirmed in Friday’s press conference. It also gives the United manager a welcome selection headache in midfield, because everyone bar perennially crocked Owen Hargreaves is fit and ready. It will be hard for the manager to drop on form Anderson and – mistake against Valencia aside, a getting back to his best Michael Carrick, but one of them could be sacrificed to make way for either Scholes or Darren Fletcher.

Ferguson’s formation will be interesting because United have enjoyed a great deal of success against Arsenal recently playing 4-5-1, but with Dimitar Berbatov’s form, fragile confidence and his unsuitability for the lone-striker or ‘false nine’ role, it could dictate his manager to continue with the 4-4-2 of recent weeks to accommodate both the Bulgarian and Wayne Rooney. However the United manager will be all too aware of Arsenal’s ability to pass their way through teams so would look to counter this by using the strength of three central midfielders that two wouldn’t give them.

 Ahead of the much anticipated clash with Arsenal, Evra has made some remarks that have riled both Arsene Wenger, who described the comments as “lacking respect” and Arsenal’s man of the moment Samir Nasri. The outspoken full-back said that Arsenal were in crisis because of their trophy-less spell over the past few seasons and that the club is a “training centre” for youngsters. In response Nasri claimed that Old Trafford has lost its “fear factor” and also that: “We are not children and we will show Manchester United that Arsenal have really grown.” United could overtake Arsenal into first place with a victory and these comments have added further spice to the game’s already tantalising prospect.

 In transfer news it has been rumoured that after a season of poor performances, Evans could be sent out on loan in the January transfer window. The defender’s confidence is in tatters and a spell away from Old Trafford is seen as the best way to rebuild his self-belief. Rumoured United target Bastian Schweinsteiger has ended doubts about his future at Bayern Munich by signing a deal lasting until 2016.

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