Robin van Persie is expected to spend at least a month on the sidelines, as the Manchester United forward suffered an ankle injury in their defeat at Swansea City last weekend.
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Van Persie, 31, has played in 24 out of 25 United’s Premier League games this season and is their top scorer in the league with 10 goals.
However it was confirmed by United boss Louis van Gaal on Friday that RVP will be out for several weeks after he was seen leaving the Liberty Stadium in a protective boot and on crutches last Saturday.
“He is injured, the only injured player that I have,” van Gaal confirmed. “So, we change Carrick for van Persie. He has an ankle problem so I don’t think it is heavy, but an ankle problem takes a long time. It’s not 1 or two weeks, but we will have to wait and see.”
Van Gaal has plenty of options to replace van Persie, with Wayne Rooney able to slot into his usual center forward role after playing in midfield, plus James Wilson and Radamel Falcao could deputize in the Dutchman’s absence.
United are currently fourth in the Premier League table ahead of their clash against Sunderland on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) but have a whole host of clubs such as Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham clambering for the final UEFA Champions League spot.
Losing RVP for a pivotal point of the season with four PL games coming up in the next month, plus a huge FA Cup quarterfinal against van Persie’s old club Arsenal, could well hit United’s Champions League hopes hard. The Dutch forward has been their most clinical finisher in a season where scoring goals has been a problem for the Old Trafford outfit. Now, someone else has to step up.