Roo missing as Reds seek rare away win

Further injury and illness concerns dominate Sir Alex Ferguson’s planning ahead the trip to Aston Villa this weekend. Manchester United’s six match winning streak came to an end against neighbours City on Wednesday night but the chance to build momentum Saturday lunchtime is hardly helped by injuries to Patrice Evra and Rafael da Silva.

The French left-back may feature against Gerard Houlier’s outfit if his sore ankle responds to treatment today, although Rafael will definitely miss out with a dead leg. Meanwhile, ‘flu continues to sweep through the United camp, with up to 12 players having been infected over the past week.

Long-term injury victims Owen Hargreaves, Michael Owen and Antonio Valenica each miss out, although Ryan Giggs could make his long-awaited return if the Welshman suffers no further relapse on a hamstring.

Paul Scholes is suspended under the totting up procedure after collecting five yellow cards this season, although with the midfielder having played 90 minutes against City on Wednesday it is unlikely the 35-year-old would have started anyway. Darron Gibson and Anderson could again miss out with the ‘flu.

Indeed, such is United’s paucity of options in midfield that Ferguson may turn to John O’Shea, whether Evra is fit to feature at left-back or not, or tuck Park Ji-Sung into a more central role.

However, United will again be without Wayne Rooney, who returns from a week’s training at Nike World campus in Portland on Saturday. The 25-year-old has responded well to the SPARQ programme according to United and could feature in upcoming fixtures against Wigan Athletic and Glasgow Rangers.

“Wayne has been doing really well,” assistant manager Phelan told Key 103 radio.

“He has been training really hard, working morning and afternoon. Our people out there who are looking after him have been really pleased with his attitude and approach. All being well he can have a nice easy flight back.

“We will see where he is at on Monday but we think he will have improved immensely.”

In the striker’s stead Ferguson is likely to restore Javier Hernández to the United line-up alongside Dimitar Berbatov and Nani in attack. Despite beginning the season in fine form the Bulgarian has not now scored in nine matches, since hitting a hat-trick against Liverpool in September.

Meanwhile, United continues to chase a rare win on the road this season. Ferguson’s side has just one Premier League victory away from Old Trafford – at Stoke City. With six Premier League draws already, midfielder Darren Fletcher says that United must get back to winning ways at Villa Park this weekend.

“People are talking about us not losing but we have drawn too many, especially away from home,” said Fletcher.

“We have to start winning our away games if we want to push up this league. You can’t afford to draw too many games, otherwise you will get left behind.

“Overall, you would be better winning two games out of three and losing the other one rather than winning one and drawing two.

“That is why we were disappointed on Wednesday. We could have got the win and felt we produced a performance good enough to get us one.”

Indeed, United might be further than four points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea but for the Londoners own inconsistencies. Without Frank Lampard until December and with Michael Essien now banned for three matches, United might benefit from further slips by Carlo Ancelotti’s men in the coming weeks.

It is up to Ferguson’s team to take full advantage at a ground where the Reds have not lost since the opening day of the 1995/6 season. The 3-1 defeat prompted BBC pundit Alan Hansen to declare that United could “win nothing with kids.” The rest, as the cliché goes, is history with United ending the season with a second double in three years.

Villa, though,  has won just once in 27 games against United – the 1-0 win at Old Trafford last season – but could be without 10 players for the Reds’ visit. Carlos Cuellar and Habib Beye also dropped out of the Villa squad this week, while former City midfielder Stephen Ireland is doubtful with ‘flu.

Houllier will again rely on younger players for United’s visit, although the former Liverpool manager boasts a surprisingly good record against Ferguson.

“Sir Alex said to me ‘you are more successful against Manchester United than even Bob Paisley.’ But they’ve won more titles!” said the former French FA technical director.

“Villa have not won against United (at home) for a long time. I would say that at some stage it has to stop.

“It already stopped in a way last year because Villa won at Old Trafford for the first time in 25 encounters or something like that.

“We hope in front of our fans, we give the best of ourselves and get a result.”

It may take something special. After all United remains the only unbeaten team in the country.

Villa – 442 – Friedel; Luke Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Albrighton, Clark, Bannan, Downing; Ashley Young, Agbonlahor. Subs from: Guzan, Hogg, Lowry, Johnson, Lichaj, Delfouneso, Sidwell, Delph, Salifou, Osbourne.

United squad
Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Amos, Rafael, Brown, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Fabio, Obertan, Bébé, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs, Park, Berbatov, Hernández, Macheda.

Referee: Mike Dean
Assistant referees: Simon Beck & Simon Long
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson

Villa – DWWDDW
United – WWWWWD

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  1. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    draw having taken the lead, richard dunne scoring on a set piece with six minutes to go having stolen a march on oshea who got confused between richard dunne and the shadow of himself on the floor, and decided to mark the shadow instead, resulting in him accidently elbowing nani in the face, meaning he’ll be unavailable for a month,

  2. bman says

    I think we’ll give them a bit of a thrashing, confidence is high and frustration at not having beaten City after outplaying them will make the lads hungry.

    O’Shea- Rio – Vidic – Fabio
    Nani – Carrick – Fletcher – Giggs
    Berba – Hernandez

    0 -3 United, Berba, Nani, Vidic

  3. elvido says

    We’ll probably play with this line up considering we are playing away. Going for 2-0 to us!
    Brown – Rio – Vidic – O’Shea
    Carrick – Fletcher – Park
    Nani – Berba – Hernandez

  4. Sidsidney says

    Telegraph report Rooney is back and fully fit

    He might play tomorrow

    I’ve also just found out we’re the early kick off tomorrow despite playing on Wednesday FFS

    Definitely not gonna win now

  5. kramer says

    fuck’s sake, o’shea will start, which means that entire wing will be defunct, with park or whoever trying to do everything on his own. can’t see beyond a draw unless nani comes up with some magic and we sit back the entire game without spazzing out at the back.

  6. kramer says

    that villa team looks uninspiring. question is whether fergie will have the balls to go for a win. i’m guessing not.

  7. Spike says

    “Manchester United’s sex match winning streak “

    Lay back on the couch and tell me when this love affair with MU started!

    • RobDiablo says

      Sorry, that VDS in goal…

      I typed up my anticipated lineup and, for the first time ever, didn’t have to make a change before posting.

  8. says

    Good enough line-up. Very very glad that Evra is playing. Without him our left side is dead. It is amazing that he is our only proper left footer – I don’t count Giggs as in my view he should have been put to pasture really. So when the Frenchman is not playing we are really harmstrung with regards to penetration left side.

    The backline should be fine. Brown is fine. Carrick needs to show up now.

  9. says

    where do you get the chalkboard graphic from? very nice.

    i think we (united) can win it, rooney’s been crap anyway this season, it’s not a loss that he’s out anyway. berb and fletcher to grab the goals in a surprisingly comfortable win, with perhaps a late downing consolation.

  10. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Can’t really complain about the line up… it’s more or less the best we’ve got available.

    Sopcast – alv1172, is coming in a bit slow, but will get better by kick off.

  11. RobDiablo says

    Between Berbasulk, our A-Nani-mous right wing, and Ji-Sung “I just need a little lie down” Park, a 0-0 draw is looking like a good result for United.

  12. Sidsidney says

    They’re shit. They’re dangerous but predictable going forward with their bullshit long ball knock-down bollocks and their endless crossing into the box

    In general play they’re wank. They’ve hit 5 or 6 balls out while under no pressure

    We should be arse raping them

  13. Triggs says

    Dross so far. Hope we create more than that one Berba chance 2nd half.

    Park’s touch has been appalling. Atacking options on the bench: Obertan, Macheda, Gibson. Not encouraging

  14. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sidney said:
    They’re shit. They’re dangerous but predictable going forward with their bullshit long ball knock-down bollocks and their endless crossing into the box

    In general play they’re wank. They’ve hit 5 or 6 balls out while under no pressure

    We should be arse raping them

    Yeah, but to be fair Sid… it’s working.

    They’re getting their crosses in at will, and Dunne has been on the end of most corners…

  15. says

    Everything about Berbatov is infuriating. He gets the ball, holds onto it and runs into blind alleys and will never release the ball to those running off him. He makes people so very frustrated.

  16. han says

    stick gibcunt on even…….at least he will shoot for goal
    no shots on target according to the stats
    wtf is up with that bulgarian cock?

  17. Sidsidney says

    You can slag off Berba, and he deserves it

    But Hernandez has been utter shit – well off the pace and he has a bad attitude about him

    Little cunt

  18. han says

    even sweet pea is off his game
    its playing alongside that miserable fucker in attack thats doing this
    and now he picks up a yellow

  19. Sidsidney says

    han said:
    even sweet pea is off his game
    its playing alongside that miserable fucker in attack thats doing this
    and now he picks up a yellow

    Wen Berba is shit he still has his excellent touch

    When Hernandez is shit he’s just shit

  20. Ted says

    Mourinho would go through this lot with a coach and fuckin horses. How shit is Carrick?
    He deffo sits down to take a piss.

  21. sheesh says

    I can’t be arsed with this. Awful performance. No character or fight.

    Maybe we should chip in and buy Park a one way ticket to Seoul. Berbatov can fuck off as well.

  22. says

    Despite the two goals it doesn’t gloss over the fact that the team was shite apart from the last 10 minutes or so and that sooner rather than later something needs to be done.

  23. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    everyone woeful except the two centrehalfs and the two subs, berbatov has to go

    has to fucking go

    has to

    there’s no question about that

    get him out

    30m wasted

    30m added to the debt to bring him in

    get him out

  24. Sidsidney says

    Bag of shit really

    Fergie shakes his head

    Another get out of jail job. How many’s that now?

    At least the smalltime Villa cunts don’t get to celebrate a win

  25. sheesh says

    Why the fuck didn’t play like this for the other 80 minutes?

    2-1 or 2-2. Makes no odds to me. Another 2 points dropped.

  26. RobDiablo says

    Congratulations, Sir Alex. It only took you sixty minutes to figure out that Park is shit on the left, and eighty-five to figure out that he was useless in any position.

  27. Bill says

    Good entertainment!! Might of got a 1 nil win with 4-5-1. Lucky to get a draw in the end, I like Macheda and Obertan but we should have more firepower to bring than those.

  28. Triggs says

    Everyone was terrible today other then Rio, Vidic, Evra and the subs.

    I know people will blame Berba for this, but the whole team is culpable for the slow methodical build up play. It’s got to be quicker and more direct. Park saved us last week but his last two performances have been wretched and I mean fucking shocking.

    We need someone on that left side who can penetrate, stay wide and whip a decent ball in. Sanchez, Menez, Bale whoever get someone in with a left foot.

    With Berba and Nani out of form and Scholes and Rooney out we look devoid of any ideas.

  29. mongoletsi says


    Here’s a tip for SAF: Don’t play Park out wide.

    Reasons to keep Park: Less chances for O’Shite to play in midfield (or indeed anywhere).

  30. Triggs says

    Anyone notice that the standard of the Prem this year is fucking woeful?

    I’m pleased the games are (generally) tighter and the promoted teams are picking up wins, but woah is it ever crap.

  31. Sidsidney says

    Unregistered User said:
    Anyone notice that the standard of the Prem this year is fucking woeful?

    I’m pleased the games are (generally) tighter and the promoted teams are picking up wins, but woah is it ever crap.

    Worst United team in years, worst Chelsea team in years – yet those two are the only real contenders for the title

    Chelsea will win it comfortably

    We’ve got a team that isn’t good enough to win the league, that’s why woeful teams like Villa, Bolton, Sunderland, Stoke, Fulham etc. are giving us a game every week, and it’s a battle for us to get anything let alone 3 points

    If we had signed more quality in summer, then we’d be a cut above and these games would be more comfortable

  32. Triggs says

    I agree. I think United’s only chance of winning it is if Chelsea suffer from injuries – specifically Drogba, Essien, Malouda. Their bench (attacking wise) is dreck – far worse than United’s.

    Both United and Chelsea are struggling away from home this season. I think it’ll be the lowest points total this year for a long time.

    Funny thing is, serie a is in an even worse state.

  33. Bill says

    Interesting points. Alot of teams are scared of our reputation and take a while to get into games. In light of this it shows the current United side is fortunate to be 2nd in the table.

    We have a culture of winning at OT, it takes a long time to build this up but a very short time to lose that mentality.

    Park was poor but we shouldn’t expect anything less, he’s had 3 good games followed by 2 poor ones. That’s the kind of player he is – a squad one but not a regular starter.

    Bizarrely still unbeaten but we could be turning into Bentiez’s Liverpool of 08-09, few losses but too many draws. The irony!

  34. Bill says

    Marks for todays game.

    Everyone 6 except:

    Vidic 7
    Park 5
    Berbatov 5

    A team full of 6s is not good enough if you are playing for Manchester United.

  35. herbie simms says

    Like the commentator said, it wa the poorest game he had ever seen any Man Utd team play. Aston Villa played their reserve team because they had 8 players out injured. Should have been a straight forward win for United. If SAF had players out there that were playing with the flu virus, they should not have been on the field period.
    Just terrible. It would make better sense to play 100% fit youngsters than to play a bunch of sick misfits. Aston Villa played their fit youngsters and they almost pulled it off.

  36. sheesh says

    Villa’s reserves are actually rather bloody good. Up there with the best in the country and that’s no exagerration.

    They gave our reserves an absolute schooling earlier this year. I wasn’t surprised to see players like Bannan and Albrighton play so well against our established players today.

    There are no excuses for today. We had enough energy and urgency to mount a comeback at 2-0 down so what were the players doing for the other 80 mins? I think taking Ji Cunt Park and Berbatov off made a huge difference.

    Obertan will be wondering what he has to do to get a game. He played well against Bursasport and looked lively today. Macheda seems to love coming off the bench and making an impact but I think it’s fair that we give him more opportunities – otherwise he will bugger off back to Italy and become a huge star.

  37. herbie simms says

    Do you think SAF needs to spend some money in the January transfer window? Are you happy with the players that are are there now? Should he forget about winning anything with this squad this season and do all his spending in the summer transfer window? Do you think this squad can win anything this season? Should we wait another two years for Hardgreaves? Should we wait until Van de Sar, Scholes and Giggs are 50 years old before we replace them?
    How long should we keep Park, OShea, Carrick, Anderson and Michael Owen?
    Should SAF remain the manager until he is 80 years old?
    Any solutions?

  38. Bill says

    I doubt Fergie will buy in January. Most of the decent players are cup tied for the Champions League, so even less value in the market there! The closest we will get is Cleverley back from his Wigan loan.

    I think we can win either the FA Cup or Carling Cup, league 2nd and CL quarters. Scholes was a big miss today. Although the performance was poor, a point away at Villa is a par result.

    And for the record Villa reserves are indeed good, beating our reserves 4-1 at the start of the season. Barry Bannan in particular was class that night.

    Going forward we have to buy a world class attacking midfielder in the summer, whether Scholes retires or not. We need Cleverley back and one of Welbeck or Diouf. I would suspect that latter will be sold to Blackburn.

  39. bman says

    PL is slipping away in little dribs and drabs. Losing games would almost be better than this slow death.

    Could still win the CL with a couple of returns from injury and one or two fresh faces in Jan. Not that I think we will, but we’re not *that* bad, just missing real class in a few areas.

    Gutted by this result, I really thought that the lads would come out guns blazing today.

    • RedScot says

      Would you fuck off with this Taggart shit. You are an assole of the highest order open and wide.
      You are disrespecting a United icon.Cnut
      He has given you more success than any other United manager.
      He cant help it if his arms are tied behind his back.

  40. says

    I think Berbatov is a far worse signing than Veron. The fellow is an irritant and he is in the same class with Owen in my view of utterly useless currently United players. What does this guy do for us?
    And why did our manager take off Hernandez? He should have had him alongside Kiko and taken Park off earlier.

    By the Rio is finished! utterly utterly finished now. He is playing from memory and has no confidence on the ball anymore. He could not bring the ball out and keeps passing it to Vida. We need to buy another left footer to give us more balance and penetration on the left.

    At least Liverpool lost at Stoke though…

  41. herbie simms says

    Everyone has good points. Sometime in the near future, SAF will have to strengthen the squad. Ferdinand does have a recurring back problem but he does have Smalling.
    I do believe though that if SAF had solved his midfield problems during the pre-season, we would be well on top at the moment. Chelsea has lost a bit of its sting and the others are also struggling to beat the small clubs.
    Good to see Liverpool lost 2-0 to Stoke.

  42. Bill says

    Yep we will have to buy a world class midfielder this summer for definite. Hargreaves will probably be gone too, Anderson and Gibson are on the borderline.

    Cleverley should play more of a role next season. I would rather start him over Anderson and Gibson as he’s a better all round player.

  43. Ted says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    yeah enough taggart shit, its ginsoak jock cunt


    I said it while back. He’s gone all Benitez on us. He is literally bouncing from one game to the next and does’nt know what to do for the best. He welcomed the Glazers here with open arms so he cant have any compaints that there’s fuck all to spend. We was around a long time before he came and we’ll be be here a long time after he’s gone.

    Mourinho please!!!

  44. bman says

    Ted said:

    I said it while back. He’s gone all Benitez on us. He is literally bouncing from one game to the next and does’nt know what to do for the best. He welcomed the Glazers here with open arms so he cant have any compaints that there’s fuck all to spend. We was around a long time before he came and we’ll be be here a long time after he’s gone.

    Mourinho please!!!

    Yeah, what’s Fergie ever done for us.

  45. Ted says

    bman said:
    Yeah, what’s Fergie ever done for us.

    So what we going to do? Contact him from beyond the grave when he’s keeled over. His days are coming to and end brother. We’ll move on.

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