|There is good news for Phil Jones (L) as Ashley Young (R) joins United’s long list of injuries [GALLO/GETTY]|
Manchester United are currently battling Manchester City for the lead of the English Premier League but they will have to do it with an increasingly depleted squad.
The latest in a long line of injuries is winger Ashley Young who has been sidelined for several weeks with a knee problem.
Young, an England international, was injured during United’s 5-0 thrashing of Fulham on Wednesday.
“It’s not so good for Ashley Young,” United boss Alex Ferguson told a news conference.
“We’re still waiting on some of the bleeding to go away, which is quite extensive at the moment. It was a sore one
so he’ll be out for a few weeks.”
“It’s not an easy spell for us but we just have to get on with it. The squad has handled the situation quite well”
However, as Young joins Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher and Michael Owen on the sidelines, there was better news for Phil Jones who was caught in the face by an elbow from Fulham’s Clint Dempsey during the match and came off in the 20th minute.
Ferguson said x-rays showed the versatile defender should be fit for United’s Premier League clash against Wigan on Monday.
“He has some swelling in his jaw but there’s no break, no fracture, which is good news,” Ferguson said.
“We feared the worst because he lost his vision a bit in that period when he came back on to the field. Thankfully it’s
Brazilian defender Rafael da Silva is also expected to return from long-term injury but Ferguson will be without midfielders Tom Cleverley and Anderson.
Earlier this month, United lost captain Nemanja Vidic for the season with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament and midfielder Darren Fletcher announced an extended break from the game with a chronic bowel condition.
“It’s not an easy spell for us but we just have to get on with it. The squad has handled the situation quite well,”
“The form has been really good and I’m pleased with that. We’re scoring goals again, which is terrific.”
Third placed Tottenham Hotspur also suffered a blow this week after Rafael van der Vaart was ruled out of the Christmas fixtures.
Spurs are likely to be without their goal scoring midfielder for the Christmas and New Year English Premier League fixtures after the Dutchman injured his hamstring in their 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Thursday.
Van der Vaart, who has scored six league goals this season, failed to return after halftime against Chelsea and manager Harry Redknapp said he would miss away games against Norwich City and Swansea City next week.
“Rafa keeps getting hamstrings,” Redknapp told reporters after the match.
|Rafael van der Vaart has become crucial part of a high flying Tottenham side [GALLO/GETTY]|
“He seems to suffer from that problem but when he plays he is a fantastic footballer.
“I would think he will be out for the festive period.”
Tottenham have mounting injury concerns going into a crucial period of the season with winger Aaron Lennon also sidelined by a hamstring injury and defender Younes Kaboul suffering a similar problem in the warm-up against Chelsea.
Striker Jermain Defoe, who missed the Chelsea game, is another with hamstring problems.
“A load of games in a short spell gives you problems,” Redknapp said.
Spurs’ London rivals Arsenal don’t miss out on the injury fun either with Kieran Gibbs ruled out for another month following surgery on his left groin.
The England left back has been out of action since October after having surgery to remove a hernia, but it had been hoped he would be back this week.
Defenders Johan Djourou, Andre Santos, Carl Jenkinson and Bacary Sagna are already out for the Gunners.
Those injuries have forced manager Arsene Wenger to field center backs Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny at fullback.
Looking ahead to the January transfer window, Wenger says he will sign a fullback “if there is a good opportunity.”
Signing more players in January is something Alex Ferguson will have to consider if his team suffer any more injuries over the festive period.