Date: 15th February 2010 at 10:25am
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United take a depleted midfield to Milan as Owen Hargreaves, Ryan Giggs and Anderson all miss out, despite the latter being healthy – or at least there’s nothing to suggest he’s injured.

Nemanja Vidic is also out, yet again, which is something of a mystery. He was on the bench for the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against City on January 26 and he was supposed to start at Arsenal on January 31.

He did not make the game and hasn’t been included in the squad ever since. He was expected to return for the game against Portsmouth but since then there’s been no news about his fitness or anything, he just keeps missing out.

I hate these mysterious injuries and the fact that we always seem to have a lot of them. This only fuels speculation that Vidic is bound to leave in the summer and it’s difficult to ignore the rumours amid such circumstances.

Anderson’s absence from even the 22-man travelling squad begs the question: will he ever play for United again? It’s not like we have an embarassment of riches in central midfield: United are likely to start with Fletcher, Carrick and the 35-year-old Scholes and the only central mid on the bench will be the untested and quite average Darron Gibson.

If Fergie does not even consider fielding Anderson in such a crucial game, why did we keep him in January? Why wasn’t one of the rumoured loan offers accepted? Or if his prolonged absence is a punishment, how long will it last, when will Fergie say that Anderson has had enough lessons for now?

It’s a risky game, this: our squad is flawed anyway and we can’t get one of our key defenders fully fit (or is it some other issue, actually?) and one of our most talented young players is frozen out. Despite the current improvement in our form, you have to feel this season is heading nowhere, and fast.