Russian brilliance fires Arsenal up to third place in EPL with victory over Liverpool.
|Giggs has adapted his game to continue at the top at the age of 36 [GALLO/GETTY]|
Manchester United face a confident Wolverhampton Wanderers in the midweek English Premier League fixtures as they aim to bounce back from their missed opportunity against Aston Villa at the weekend.
The defending champions blew the chance to go level on points with Chelsea on Saturday when they lost their first home match to Villa since 1983 following the leaders’ home draw with Everton.
And they are likely to be without the ageless Ryan Giggs against Wolves after the Welshman picked up a hamstring injury in the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
The veteran midfielder’s continued importance to United was underlined when he won the BBC‘s Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday – beating Formula One world champion Jenson Button to the prize.
Chelsea have own recovery to negotiate after a 3-3 draw with Everton left them without a win in four matches.
The Blues host last-place Portsmouth in one of four matches on Wednesday, when Arsenal are at Burnley trying to keep the pressure on the leading pair, and Liverpool look for a rare ray of light at home to an inconsistent Wigan.
United meanwhile say they will give Giggs and fellow veteran Paul Scholes new contracts for next season as their golden generation from the mid 1990s enjoy an Indian summer.
Tuesday December 15
Birmingham v Blackburn Bolton v West Ham
Wednesday December 16
Burnley v Arsenal
“They are part of the team and they are playing well,” United defender Nemanja Vidic said.
“They are still scoring goals as well, so there is no reason why they shouldn’t get new contracts if they want one.”
Wolves will be without Dave Edwards for as long as 10 weeks after the midfielder injured ankle ligaments in Saturday’s surprise 1-0 win at Tottenham.
Winger Michael Kightly and striker Andy Keogh are already out with similar injuries.
Also on Tuesday, West Ham are at Bolton, Blackburn are at high-flying Birmingham and Villa are at Sunderland.
The Villans are up to fourth place as they face a Sunderland team boosted by the return of midfielder Kieran Richardson and defender Phil Bardsley.
The pair missed Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Portsmouth through suspension.
Striker Kenwyne Jones could recover from a shoulder problem he picked up at the weekend, while midfielder Lee Cattermole is back in training.
Chelsea need victory after being jeered by some fans at the weekend following a spell that threatened to derail an impressive season so far.
“I was surprised to hear that,” said goalkeeper Petr Cech.
“If you look at the wins here, all with clean sheets and a lot of goals scored, we have beaten Liverpool, Man United and Tottenham when they were second.”
Tottenham meet Manchester City on Wednesday in the other midweek match.