LONDON- Brief news from the English Premier League before this weekend's matches:
England defender Rio Ferdinand will miss Manchester United's visit to league leaders Chelsea on Sunday due to a persistent calf injury. Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic has been passed fit along with midfielder Darren Fletcher.
Chelsea's Deco said a win would be worth four points to the Londoners: "An extra one for the blow to United's morale because they also failed to beat Liverpool."
Liverpool's Fernando Torres has flown back to Spain for a second opinion on the groin strain that could require surgery and a long layoff, local media reported.
Captain Steven Gerrard also has a damaged groin and will miss Monday's home game against Birmingham City, who were the first Premier League side to beat Rafa Benitez's Liverpool at Anfield back in 2004.
Under-fire manager Benitez will not have liked Friday's newspapers, with goalkeeper Pepe Reina suggesting their Champions League campaign has been a disgrace.
Arsenal's French defender Gael Clichy is out for the trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday after suffering a back injury against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Manager Arsene Wenger, already without Nicklas Bendtner, said Mexican striker Carlos Vela would miss the Wolves game while French left back Armand Traore had returned to training but was unlikely to be available.
Tottenham have Jermain Defoe returning from suspension against Sunderland but are without defender Sebastien Bassong who picked up a hamstring injury last Saturday at Arsenal. Winger Aaron Lennon is rated 50-50 by manager Harry Redknapp.
Spurs' Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios will be up against Steve Bruce, who brought him to Britain when he was in charge of Birmingham City in 2007. Sunderland can also field ex-Spurs players Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell up front.
Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar returns from suspension but Habib Beye and Stiliyan Petrov are suspended for the home game against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Manchester City should have Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor back in action against an unchanged Burnley but Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge are both carrying injuries and look doubtful.
Portsmouth travel to Blackburn Rovers with manager Paul Hart conscious of the recent outbreak of swine flu at Ewood Park. "When you are working in the close confines of a football club, you have to be careful," he told Sky Sports News.
"Can we catch it on Saturday? That's the least of my worries at the moment," he added. "Trying to get some points from the Blackburn game is my biggest concern."comments