Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been side-lined with a bruised toe, while Phil Jones and Jonny Evans return to training ahead of their trip to Newcastle United.
Manchester United travel to face Newcastle United later today as they look to maintain their new found momentum and spirit after a two wonderful results in their last two matches – against Aston Villa and Bayern Munich. But David Moyes also has to contain with some key absentees ahead of this game. The big news for United is the injury of Wayne Rooney and David Moyes has confirmed that he is out of contention for this game (also doubtful for their trip to Munich) with a “badly bruised toe”. Robin van Persie is still out injured and long way from returning to first team action, which means Moyes will have very limited options upfront.
“He’s got a badly bruised toe. He’s got a terrible toe. Not only is it a problem for this game, it could be a problem for the Munich match.
“We need to monitor it. We’ll get him treatment all over the weekend and see if we can speed it up.” – The Manchester United manager said.
But the good news for Manchester United fans is the return of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling to the training. Moyes has also confirmed in his pre-match press conference that the injury of Alex Buttner is not as bad as it was feared after he came off against Bayern Munich with what seemed like a hamstring problem. Ryan Giggs is also doubtful after picking up a slight groin injury in that game, although he is expected to be fit in time for the second leg against Bayern Munich.
“We have got Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling back in training. That helps us.
“Ryan Giggs picked up a wee bit of an injury in the [Bayern] game and we are not quite so worried about Alex Büttner. He is not as bad as when he first came off. We have got Jonny and Chris on the way back, which is important for us because we have missed them through what has arguably been one of the most difficult times of the season for us. We could have done with their youth and enthusiasm.” – Moyes added.
David Moyes could have one eye on their midweek Champions League fixture ahead of this game, which might reflect on his team selection – although he cannot afford any slip-ups in the league as well. Moyes is expected to make six changes to the side that he fielded in the first leg against Bayern Munich, as he looks to rest some key players – while some of the changes are forced due to injuries.
Rio Ferdinand will be replaced by Rafael in defence, which means Jones will move back to the center of the defence alongside Nemanja Vidic after starting as a right back in the last match. Darren Fletcher will replace Marouane Fellaini in the midfield as he forms the pivot with Michael Carrick ahead of the defence. Moyes will switch back to more conventional 4-2-3-1 formation in this match after opting for a counter-attacking 4-3-3 against Bayern.
Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata and Ashley Young are expected to return to the line-up replacing Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney in the side. Danny Welbeck will lead the line in the absence of Rooney and it will be interesting to see if this United sides have enough goals in them without the presence of Robin van Persie and Rooney.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): De Gea (GK); Rafael, Vidic, Jones, Evra; Carrick, Fletcher; Young, Mata, Januzaj; Welbeck