Phil Jones was subbed off after 20 minutes in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal, needing a stretcher to take him off the field. Reports from the touchline suggested he had just twisted his ankle but the following day there were claims he had ligament damage.
However, Mike Phelan has given us hope that Jones could be available for our FA Cup clash at Anfield.
“Phil’s character is very good,” said Phelan. “He is disappointed that, over the last few weeks, he seems to have limped around the football field quite a bit. But he usually manages to recover, so we’re optimistic he can do the same again.”
Sir Alex Ferguson revealed after the game that Michael Carrick played with a hamstring injury during the second half at the Emirates, whilst Darren Fletcher is ruled out for the season and Tom Cleverley is still weeks away from making his return. Anderson played for 15 minutes against City in the FA Cup but in the two games since hasn’t even been on the bench, with wantaway Paul Pogba filling a midfielder’s spot on the bench for our game against Bolton.
The last time we were stretched for central midfielders, Ferguson opted to started Rafael and Park Ji-Sung, although we lost that game 3-2 at home to Blackburn. However, it is unlikely that even Rafael would be available to play in midfield at Anfield, given that Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are injured, so Chris Smalling won’t be able to play at right-back.
If Jones doesn’t make a surprise recovery in time, we could see Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes starting in the centre of the field. Preferable to that would be Giggs starting on the left and Park partnering Scholes, considering our veterans don’t have the legs required to boss the midfield anymore. Let’s not forget it was Giggs’ brilliant ball in from the left that set up our opening goal at Arsenal and Park has plenty of energy to run around in the middle to give Scholesy a breather. Still, not ideal, is it?
Fingers crossed Micky isn’t getting our hopes up for nothing.