12 Feb 2011

Premier League clubs lose big names for weekend clashes

6:53 am on 12 February 2011

The Manchester United football club will be without defender Rio Ferdinand for the local derby against Premier League rivals Manchester City on Sunday after he failed to recover from a calf injury.

Leaders United are five points ahead of third-placed City with a game in hand before the clash at Old Trafford.

City could be boosted by the return of striker Mario Balotelli who is pushing for a place in the squad after being sidelined for a month with a knee injury.

However the Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong is still a doubt with an ankle injury having missed last weekend's 3-nil win over West Bromwich Albion and a midweek international friendly.

Arsenal's Swiss defender Johan Djourou is fit to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday after recovering from a knee injury suffered at Newcastle United last week.

Denilson (hamstring) is also available and fellow midfielder Alex Song (thigh) may be in contention while Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas have recovered from sickness.

However, Tomas Rosicky misses out after picking up a groin injury playing for Czech Republic in midweek and Samir Nasri (hamstring) is still not ready for action.

Tottenham Hotspur will be without three key midfield players -- Rafael van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale -- for Sunday's trip to Sunderland as the London club continue to battle for a top four place.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is likely to continue with Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba up front in the west London derby against Fulham on Tuesday.

Ancelotti says that new signing David Luiz will start at Craven Cottage having made his debut as a substitute in Sunday's 1-nil home defeat by Liverpool.