Manchester United quartet injured in win at Arsenal
Monday 23 January 2012
Manchester United were left counting the cost of getting off to a winning start in the "four massive away games" manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes could decide the Barclays Premier League title race.
The champions delivered the perfect response to Manchester City's last-gasp victory over Tottenham by beating Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.
But victory came at what could be a heavy price ahead of Saturday's FA Cup showdown at Liverpool, with Phil Jones, Nani, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick all leaving London with injuries.
Jones was today set to learn the extent of the ankle ligament damage that saw him carried off on a stretcher inside 17 minutes, with Ferguson fearing the defender was likely to be sidelined for "a few weeks".
Nani boarded the team bus wearing a protective boot on his right foot, Rooney also limped his way out of the stadium and Carrick played through the pain of a hamstring strain.
"It's not good news for us," said Ferguson, who was already without Rio Ferdinand, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young, Michael Owen and long-term absentees Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic.
"I think Jones will be out for a few weeks , it's ankle ligaments. Carrick was feeling his hamstring in the second half and he just had to sit in the middle of the pitch."
Their sacrifice was not in vain, with the win taking United back to within three points of City.
"It was important to win after City had won their game, but the manner in which we won was the more pleasing thing for me," Ferguson said, before looking ahead to even tougher trips to Chelsea, Tottenham and City.
"I said before the game that we had four massive away games to come and that's one out the way. What we need to do is stay on City's coat-tails."
Ferguson singled out match-winner Danny Welbeck for special praise after the England striker scored for the third successive game.
"Danny was fantastic. His work-rate and movement are great," he said. "He could have scored five. He was unlucky in that sense, but he's got the important goal and continued his run of scoring in the first team. For a 21-year-old, he's doing really well."
Welbeck revealed United had watched City's win over Spurs in their dressing room, telling MUTV: "It was on in the changing room but we couldn't let it affect us or the way we played - we just played our normal game.
"I'm over the moon, but the team worked tirelessly all the way through. A few people were cramping up towards the end - I was one of the victims.
"To get a starting berth up top with Wazza (Rooney) in behind me, we're forming a great partnership and I'm just looking forward to carrying that on."
Latest in Sport
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? TV details and full card
Sam Burgess: Bath and England's next big thing
Andy Murray gets his revenge over Grigor Dimitrov to face home favourite Nick Kyrgios in Australian Open
Brighton 2 Arsenal 3 player ratings: Did Tomas Rosicky's performance and goal make him man of the match at Amex Stadium?
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Glen Johnson to stay; Fabian Delph move goes up in flames; Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for loan deal
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party