United duo fit for Arsenal clash
Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed both Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes should be available for Manchester United's top-of-the-table clash with Arsenal on Monday.
Ferdinand was forced out of Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Valencia after suffering a tight hamstring, while Scholes has been troubled by a groin injury that has forced him to miss United's last three games.
The pair have trained this week and Ferguson expects both to be in contention to face Arsene Wenger's side at Old Trafford. "Everyone is fit," Ferguson told Key 103.
"Paul Scholes started training yesterday. It was just light stuff but hopefully he will be available for Monday and Rio should be fit as well."
Defensive duo Jonny Evans and Wes Brown had also been struggling with a virus but they are also in contention as United look to maintain a five-match unbeaten run against the Gunners and leap back to the Premier League summit.
"Jonny and Wes have had a bit of a virus that has been going around the place," said Ferguson. "We should have a full squad for Monday."
Ferguson also confirmed Patrice Evra would be available after he sat out the Valencia draw, which confirmed United as Group C winners. "It is good to have everyone available for such a massive game," the United boss told www.manutd.com.
Ferguson also confirmed Michael Owen's training programme was going well, although the former England striker will not be considered to face Arsenal.
As United must visit Stamford Bridge for a meeting with Chelsea next Sunday, it is tempting to conclude the Red Devils are approaching a pivotal stage of the season.
However, the campaign has been so strange Ferguson is not sure anything can be read into it just yet. "In a normal situation you'd say that this period is probably the most important part of the season," said Ferguson.
"But in the way this league has turned out, it's difficult to assess. "Look at Sunderland for example - a few weeks ago they were third or fourth bottom. Now they've had a bit of consistency and won a few games and are challenging for a European place.
"That's the way we used to consider things in the Championship. "In the title race you could win two games and be back in the play-off position and lose two games and be back down to fourth or fifth bottom. It's that kind of league. It's changed.
"There were slight indications of that last season, but more so this season because Chelsea, Arsenal and ourselves have all dropped points.
"I think we're all probably analysing how we've dropped points. It's just the nature of the league."
It is United's first league outing since smashing seven goals past Blackburn and they are bidding to extend a five-match unbeaten run against the Gunners.
Team : Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Amos, Rafael, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Smalling, Brown, Evans, Evra, Fabio, Nani, Park, Carrick, Scholes, Anderson, Obertan, Giggs, Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez, Macheda, Bebe.