Rio Ferdinand was subbed off in the closing stages of our victory over Arsenal last night and there will be obvious changes made to the team in order to keep our players fresh for the second leg. RoM contributing writer, Joe Davies, reflects on this.

Rio Ferdinand is a major doubt for the weekend after potentially breaking a rib in last night’s 1-0 first leg victory against Arsenal. Rio was unintentionally clattered by Edwin van der Sar as the United keeper came to collect a second half free kick.

Sir Alex has admitted “He’s got a crack right on the ribs, it’s just precautionary and, obviously, we hope it’s nothing broken because if you get a rib injury then he’d be out for two or three weeks. We will have to wait and see, and we just have to wait on the results.”

The first XI may also see change with a return for Wes Brown. Tipped to make an appearance from the bench at the weekend, Wes has recently completed an hour of football for the reserves against Preston North End and 45mins against Newcastle Reserves.

Fergie however is not happy with the lunchtime kickoff, suggesting “I will bring some freshness into the team. The defence will be the same, apart from Rio, but the midfield and forwards could change completely.” Arsenal on the other hand could indeed play their entire reserve team, with 4th spot pretty well cemented and their only chance of clinching the league title is if they win every game, United don’t pick up a single point in 5 games and Liverpool scrape 3 point from 4 games!

It is feasible that Sir Alex therefore may keep things tight at the back but include a bit of youth in the middle and final thirds of the park. Hypothetically, if none of the starting XI from midfield or attack were to start I’d personally like to see Berbatov and Macheda start up front together.

Fingers crossed for Rio.