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Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Paul Scholes doubtful for Man United-Arsenal match

Paul Scholes
Scholes was forced off halfway through the second half against Rangers

Paul Scholes is "doubtful" for Manchester United's Premier League showdown with Arsenal next Monday, manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed.

The 36-year-old midfielder has not played since picking up a groin injury against Rangers last month.

He was expected to play some part in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Valencia but suffered a minor setback in training.

"Paul tried training on Sunday and came off," said Ferguson. "He will be doubtful for next Monday."

Scholes has been at his influential best this season, helping guide United to second place in the Premier League, one point behind Arsenal with a game in hand.

Six days after the home game against the Gunners, United travel to champions Chelsea ahead of a Christmas schedule which features four games in 10 days.

The absence of Scholes had handed an opportunity to Anderson, who has started United's last three games following his return from a cruciate ligament injury.

And Ferguson has been delighted by the contribution of the Brazilian midfielder, who scored the equaliser against Valencia.

"Anderson has been absolutely brilliant in the last three games," said Ferguson.

"He has been tremendous. He offers something different from the other midfield players we have got.

"He has tremendous pace, can beat a man and is always decisive in his passing."

Meanwhile, Ferguson is optimistic that centre-back Rio Ferdinand will be fit for the Arsenal match.

Ferdinand was taken off after 50 minutes against Valencia after tweaking a hamstring.

"It's a tight hamstring - not a tear or anything like that," said Ferguson.

"I'm sure he'll be OK for Monday. He felt it at half time but wanted to carry on. But we have several days now to make sure he is right."

United had gone behind against Valencia when Pablo Hernandez scored in the first half but Anderson followed up Ji-Sung Park's shot to send the Old Trafford side into the last-16 knockout stage as group winners.


Valencia would have leapfrogged United with a win but Ferguson's side avoided such a scenario and will now not be drawn against fellow group winners Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the next round.

The draw for the last 16 will be made on 17 December and possible opponents for United so far include Inter Milan, AC Milan, Lyon or Copenhagen, with other prospective rivals to be decided after Wednesday's Champions League games.

"It is always good to be first. That is important," added Ferguson. "We will avoid the bigger names, although they will come eventually."

Valencia coach Unai Emery was happy with the way his side acquitted themselves against United as he used the game to gauge the quality of his players.

"We played well," he said. "It was a chance to measure our ability and we were very close to winning the game.

"They had a lot of chances to score but we fought hard and the draw was a fair result.

"I feel we can take a lot of optimism from this game into the remainder of the competition."

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see also
Ferguson admits to enjoying Group C
07 Dec 10 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 1-1 Valencia
07 Dec 10 |  Europe
Tuesday football as it happened
07 Dec 10 |  Football
Tuesday's football photos
07 Dec 10 |  Football
Rangers 0-1 Man United
24 Nov 10 |  Europe

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