David Moyes’ tough start to his Manchester United tenure isn’t getting any favors from the football gods.
The Scotsman has revealed his club is dealing with a number of injuries to key players following the international break.
The most painful of the bunch (see what I did there?) is that of Robin van Persie, who has picked up a calf problem on international duty and could miss out this weekend against Southampton. He was substituted off at halftime in the Netherland’s 2-0 win over Turkey.
The 30-year-old Dutch striker has already missed a match earlier this season with an injury, the clash with rivals Manchester City in which United fell 4-1.
In addition, Tom Cleverley will definitely be unavailable for selection after injuring his groin on duty for England.
And finally, the most serious of the bunch is Marouane Fellaini’s wrist injury. He banged it up in United’s match with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League earlier in October.
According to Moyes, there is somewhat serious ligament and bone damage, but Fellaini can wait to have surgery for up to two years on the wrist and play through the pain. He’s been wearing a wrist protector since the injury.
“It is quite a bad wrist injury” said Moyes. “There is a bit of bone and ligament sticking out.” Great visual, that.
The biggest issue in the former Everton midfielder may be involved with his style of play. A strong and physical presence in the midfield, Fellaini may need his arm strength at 100% to be most effective.
“You do use your arms to hold people off” said Moyes, “and we have to make sure his wrist is not suffering any more damage than it is already.”
With Cleverley out and Fellaini not entirely healthy, it will be interesting to see who Moyes goes with in the Red Devils’ midfield this weekend.
One half of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup final was decided on Tuesday as Brazilian side Gremio topped Liga MX champions Pachuca.
Second-half substitute Everton proved to be the difference for the Brazilians, with the attacker scoring in extra time to lift Gremio.
[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]
Pachuca’s chances of completing a comeback were extinguished with 10 minutes remaining in extra time, as Víctor Guzman was sent off upon picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal.
Meanwhile, Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds captured fifth place in the tournament after narrowly topping Wydad Casablanca, 3-2.
Despite going behind early, Urawa responded almost immediately in the first half, before building its lead to 3-1 at the hour mark.
A late penalty kick from Reda Hajhouj gave Casablanca a glimmer of hope in the dying moments, however, the Moroccan-based club couldn’t find a way to equalize.
Gremio will await either La Liga giants Real Madrid or Al Jazira in the Club World Cup final, which will be played on Saturday. The loser of that match will take on Pachuca in the third-place game.
Below are the scores from Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup matches.
Gremio 1-0 Pachuca (after extra time)
Wydad Casablanca 2-3 Urawa Red Diamonds — Fifth-place match
Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.
Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.
The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.
[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]
Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.
Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.
LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.
The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.
Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.
Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.
Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.
FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.
[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]
Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.
Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”