Date: 16th October 2009 at 4:00pm
Written by:

Wayne Rooney is definitely out of tomorrow’s Premier League clash against Bolton Wanderers. United’s top scorer picked up an injury in England’s 1-0 defeat at Ukraine – where he was easily the best English player on the pitch – and is now a doubt for next weekend’s game at Anfield…

‘Rooney’s out – that’s the one certainty,’ the boss said.

‘We’re doing our best to get him fit for Wednesday but I’ve got my doubts.

‘Wayne has a calf injury and they can be troublesome. I certainly hope he’ll be fit for Liverpool but we won’t be taking any chances in Moscow.’


United have signed only one striker in the summer, Michael Owen, who is not fully fit yet but will be involved against Bolton. That means we have only one fully fit senior striker and that is Dimitar Berbatov – who might miss the game as his partner is due to give birth soon.

But let’s assume he’ll play because even if he’s available the lack of options up front is obvious. Fergie has four realistic alternatives if Owen is indeed not fit enough to start.

The first is to play with a lone striker with three attacking midfielders behind him. In this scenario Berbatov would lead the line and Giggs would be tucked in behind him with Nani and Valencia on the flanks. I think this is the most likely to happen.

Then Fergie could throw recently recovered Gabriel Obertan into the deep end but it’s extremely improbable. Obertan will be given more time, I can’t see him being involved tomorrow.

Third and fourth options are, of course, the youngsters: Federico Macheda or Danny Welbeck. Welbeck got his chance against Sunderland and he was dreadful but he’s got a good excuse for that performance: he’s not a winger even though he had showed himself capable of playing there in the past. He played one game as a centre-forward this season and on that occasion, against Wolves in the Carling Cup, he scored the winning goal.

Macheda did not set the world on fire any time he started a game: his two memorable performances last season came when he was only a substitute. Again, an unlikely option.

Oh, and I hear you ask ‘what if Berbatov also misses the game?’. Well folks then we have to pray that someone, somehow will score a goal and that we’ll be able to keep Bolton out…