With both teams within three points of the Premier League’s top four, Wednesday’s match between Manchester United and Tottenham’s could continue one team’s march back into Champions League contention. It could also provide a dour verdict should one team fall, blunting their December momentum while allowing another contender to gain three points.
That’s why the potential absences of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are particularly important to the Red Devils. While neither forward featured in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Norwich, there were hopes that each could be in David Moyes’s team for tomorrow’s visit from Spurs. Yet according to the United manager, neither van Persie’s thigh nor Rooney’s groin have progressed enough play on New Year’s Day.
Moyes confirmed Van Persie “is not quite ready” after missing five games with a thigh injury.
Meanwhile Rooney, who missed Saturday’s win at Norwich with a groin problem, did not train on Tuesday and will be assessed ahead of the game.
“Robin is not quite ready, we don’t think,” said Moyes.
“He is not too far away. With Wayne we need to wait and see. He has not trained today so we will need to assess it tomorrow.”
Without van Persie over the last two weeks, United have gone 5-0-0, climbing to sixth in the Premier League while advancing past Stoke City in the League Cup. When Rooney joined him on the sidelines on Sautrday, however, Manchester United were held to one goal at Carrow Road, the first time since van Persie’s injury the Red Devils failed to score multiple times.
Much of that success has been due to Danny Welbeck, who has four goals in his last four league games. Against Spurs, he could be one of only two players available to Moyes who have scored multiple goals this season. On Wednesday, only Adnan Januzaj (three goals) may join Welbeck (six) as consistent threats in United’s XI.