Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson held his weekly press conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Chelsea and during it, he revealed that playmaker Shinji Kagawa would be out for three or four weeks due to a knee injury. Here's the gaffer on the situation:
"It's a knee injury similar to the one Ashley Young had but not as bad. I think playing on with the injury did not help the situation for him, even though he did well to play on with it. It's disappointing for him."
- Ferguson | Source: ManUtd.com
With Wayne Rooney in fine form at the moment, this is less of a blow. Wazza was likely to start at Stamford Bridge -- whether that be in support of Robin van Persie in a 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 or at the tip of a midfield diamond -- and he'll handle the playmaking duties while the Japanese international is out. It is disappointing, though, as Kagawa was still trying to acclimate to United and each game that he gets helps with that process. In addition, the fixture list is quite congested for the next few months so losing the only other playmaker on the team, besides Rooney, is a concern.
Fergie also provided an update on the recovery of defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones:
"Smalling is back training on the football side of things. Phil Jones will hopefully start full training a week on Monday so things are getting better on that front. Certainly getting Smalling back is a big bonus for us. Other than that, everyone else is available for Sunday's game."
So all in all, Nemanja Vidic is also still unavailable for Chelsea, along with Kagawa, Jones, and Smalling. It is hugely encouraging on the latter though since Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans are the only proven first-team central-defenders on the squad. I think we're all done seeing poor Michael Carrick being asked to play center-back.
Ferguson also offered up some thoughts on Chelsea:
"Always a difficult game at Chelsea. Two good teams and they've had a great start to the season and have done really well. They've played an interesting formation - something we have to deal with. They've bought Oscar and Hazard into the team -similar types of players. They're adapting to having players like Mata. There is a situation where they're in behind the front player all of the time. They're difficult to deal with. They don't have Drogba so their game had to change anyway."
On United's woeful record recently at the Bridge:
"It’s an amazing record but it’ll change, sometime - hopefully on Sunday. Last season we were actually very unlucky. In the main I don’t think we’ve played badly. The games that we’ve lost, not last year, but in the years before that, we actually played well in only to get bad decisions against us. Last season we did really well to rescue it after being 3-0 down. I think we scored three goals in about eight minutes or something like that. We should have won it really. We were the better team in the first half yet we were 3-0 down just after half-time. It was amazing. Apart from last season if you look at the last six or seven seasons before that it was always us and Chelsea vying for the title so that gives you an idea of how we’ll approach this game on Sunday – it’s going to be hard one."