Duo out for United

Posted Saturday, August 29, 2009 by PA

Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar remain Manchester United's major absentees ahead of the clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson feels Ferdinand may not quite be ready for the trip to Tottenham on September 12 but his recovery from a thigh injury will not keep him out for much longer.

Ben Foster will continue in goal while Michael Carrick and Anderson are hoping for recalls after missing the five-goal rout of Wigan.

Ahead of the game, Ferguson has backed opposite number Arsene Wenger's controversial decision to sell Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.

Many pundits felt Arsenal might have been kissing goodbye to their top-four hopes by letting two of their star men leave for a major rival.

Yet the early signs do not indicate there will be a problem.

The Gunners have scored 10 goals in their first two matches, including six at Everton on the opening day, and also reached the group stages of the Champions League by putting five past Celtic.

And Ferguson is adamant Wenger knows exactly what he is doing.

"I couldn't understand why they were written off," said the United boss.

"A young team like Arsenal, that is maturing, has to be respected and regarded. Six-one at Everton was an amazing result. In all my time at Manchester United, I can't remember anyone doing that at Goodison Park before.

"But one thing Arsene Wenger has done fantastically well is sell at the right time.

"He has always known the right time for a player to leave and he has done it again with Adebayor and Toure.

"It is not easy to manage that kind of change but I don't think the level of ability has changed one bit and he seems to have a good harmony in the squad."

Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas has been ruled out of the game.

Fabregas has failed to recover from his hamstring injury in time for Old Trafford but the Gunners have no fresh injury concerns following Wednesday night's 3-1 victory over Celtic.

Theo Walcott (back), Lukasz Fabianski (knee), Samir Nasri (broken leg) and Johan Djourou (knee) all continue their rehabilitation.

The Gunners are still confident of dispatching United to preserve their 100% start to the season, although Wenger refuses to comment on whether Ferguson's side have lost ground over the summer.

"I don't speculate on any weakness of Man United - that would be a little bit naive on my part," he said.

"But we know we go to Old Trafford with a good belief and that is very important before a big game like that.

"We know as well that we want to show that we can win the big games away from home and this is a good opportunity to do it."

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