Robin van Persie is a fitness doubt for Manchester United’s clash with high-flying Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday. The striker was taken off during the Netherlands’ victory over Turkey on Tuesday and manager David Moyes has revealed that his availability will only be determined closer to kick-off. Van Persie is the main injury worry after the international break, but Moyes also admits to concerns about the much-traveled Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez.
“We've got a few who came back with a few bumps and bruises," he told MUTV. "Probably the one we're most worried about is Robin van Persie. Antonio is very late coming back from South America. Chicharito too. They're the ones who always have long-haul flights. But we're a bit worried about Robin and the condition he's come back in. We'll see how he is tomorrow.
"He got a kick in the calf and he came off at half-time in the second game. He also had problems with his toes as well. We'll see how he is."
Meanwhile, Marouane Fellaini will be available for selection after the club decided to postpone an operation on the midfielder’s wrist injury. It is another Belgian-born player who has made plenty of headlines in the past two weeks, though. Adnan Januzaj propelled himself into the spotlight with two memorable goals to rescue a victory for Manchester United against Sunderland last time out. But one man who knows all about making a big impact as a teenager, Wayne Rooney, has said that the 18-year-old still needs to be patient.
“Maybe now he might be expecting to play every game, which is not going to happen, but I think he’ll understand that and understand the way he has to come into the team,” he told MUTV. “I’m sure he’ll do that and then obviously he has to help himself by performing so it’s a big challenge for him. But we see him every day, he’s got the talent so hopefully he can continue that form for the rest of the season.”
United can expect to face a tough afternoon against a Southampton side that lies fourth place in the Premier League standings -- four points ahead of their opponents on Saturday. And manager Mauricio Pochettino, who will have Artur Boruc and Luke Shaw fit after injury and illness, respectively, sees the match as another opportunity for his side to show their quality.
"I think all games in the Premier League are exciting, and this is a very good chance for us to show what we can do as a team," he told the Southampton website. "It's going to be very difficult but we are going there with a positive mentality.”
Manchester United (probable)
G: De Gea
D: Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
M: Carrick, Fellaini
Valencia, Rooney, Januzaj
D: Clyne, Lovren, Fonte, Shaw
M: Wanyama, Schneiderlin
Lallana, Osvaldo, Davis
Prediction: This match suits Southampton perfectly. While they have gotten two solid home wins over more modest opposition lately, Pochettino’s side are still more naturally equipped when playing against sides with the imperative to take the initiative. Southampton are incredibly solid in midfield and increasingly so at the back, while their pressing provides a platform to hurt their opponents on the break.
They promise to be quite the challenge for a United side that has shown a worrying propensity to be caught out on the counter-attack, with their lack of mobility through the middle. Januzaj rescued Moyes from a third straight Premier League defeat last time out and there remain plenty of problems with the side. A draw maybe the best they can achieve for against Southampton.
Manchester United 1-1 Southampton
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick off at 10 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network, with a live stream available via NBC Sports Live Extra.