Nemanja Vidic desperate for Rio Ferdinand to be fit

Nemanja Vidic is crossing his fingers central defensive partner Rio Ferdinand will be fit for Monday's top-of-the-table showdown with Arsenal.

Ferdinand was forced off five minutes into the second half of last night's Champions League draw with Valencia after experiencing discomfort in his hamstrings.

Sir Alex Ferguson is confident his prompt action in replacing the 31-year-old with Chris Smalling on a freezing night at Old Trafford has given Ferdinand the best possible chance of being fit.

And Ferdinand himself tweeted today: "Hammy feels ok, treatment over the next couple of days to try + get ready for the game monday."

However, for a player who has experienced too many injuries for comfort over the past couple of years, nothing can be taken for granted, especially if the latest problem is connected to his troublesome back.

As someone who has benefited from playing alongside Ferdinand for much of his five years with the Red Devils, Vidic knows just how important it would be to have his long-time partner next to him against Arsene Wenger's men.

"Fingers crossed he will be okay," said Vidic.

"Against Arsenal we need to have experienced players on the pitch, especially Rio.

"I hope he will be fine and be ready because that is a very important game."

Although United have come through the biggest of matches without star players, such is the incisiveness of Arsenal's attack at the moment - especially in-form Samir Nasri - that Ferguson's players will have to be on their guard if they are to gain a victory that would sweep them back to the top of the Premier League table and put them in command of their own destiny.

With a trip to Chelsea following a week later, Vidic realises there is no time to think about Christmas festivities just yet and Paul Scholes' likely absence with a groin problem just focuses minds even more.

"Everyone looks forward to the big games and this is one of the biggest," he said.

"In fact I would say it is the biggest game in this part of the season.

"At the moment Arsenal are playing good football and are top of the league. It would be nice if we could win the game and go above them.

"We are all aware it is a long season. You can already see how many teams are dropping points.

"It is too early to start talking about winning this one game giving us an advantage. But it would be nice to do it."

Vidic certainly cannot complain at the results that have been achieved during his first season as skipper.

There might have been too many draws, especially earlier in the season, but United remain unbeaten and now have a game in hand following the postponement of Saturday's trip to Blackpool.

"It is not going badly for us," he said.

"We have got to the second stage of the season and we are doing well in the league.

"There are a few details to improve but we just have to keep going."

Much like Nani 12 months ago, Anderson has suddenly shown a consistency of form that has largely been lacking since his arrival from FC Porto three years ago.

The Brazilian was a formidable presence in midfield against Valencia, and even managed a rare goal to ensure United clinched top spot and, in theory, a favourable pairing in next Friday's knockout round draw.

As holders Inter Milan only qualified as runners-up behind Tottenham, they are potential opponents - raising the prospect of Ferguson renewing rivalries with Rafael Benitez - as are AC Milan.

However, favourites Barcelona and a Real Madrid outfit for whom Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo are now the most significant figures, have been avoided, as have Bayern Munich, who dumped United out at the quarter-final stage last term.

The one disappointment was a failure to keep a sixth straight clean sheet that would have confirmed United as the first team to go through an entire group phase without conceding a goal.

"We wanted to break the record," shrugged Vidic.

"That is a normal thing when you have kept five clean sheets.

"But the most important thing is that we finished where we wanted; first in the group.

"Hopefully now we will avoid some of the big teams, which helps us in the competition overall."

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little