Previews: United blighted at the back

Topics

LONDON - Brief news from the Premier League ahead of this weekend's matches:

Manchester United are still struggling defensively before their home game against Everton on Saturday with Rio Ferdinand and Fabio definitely out injured, Jonny Evans and John O'Shea doubtful and Gary Neville suspended.

Manager Alex Ferguson said on Friday that Ferdinand's long-running back problem had finally been identified but that he would still be out for a couple of weeks.

Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown and Patrice Evra are expected to be available.

Everton have their own problems with half a dozen players suffering knee injuries of various types.

Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta, Victor Anichebe, Phil Neville, Jo, James Vaughan and Steven Pienaar have all been affected.

"The lads that have been in the team have been fantastic but we need that bit of extra help," Australia midfielder Tim Cahill said. "It's about how we kick on and get more injured players back to share the workload."

Arsenal will be without Robin van Persie (ankle) and Kieran Gibbs (foot) for Saturday's trip to Sunderland after both picked up injuries on international duty.

Brazilian midfielder Denilson is available after being sidelined for nine weeks with a back injury and Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott are short of fitness.

Sunderland welcome Dutch midfielder Bolo Zenden back after a hip problem, while defenders George McCartney and John Mensah should be available.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes will have midfielder Gareth Barry available for Saturday's trip to Liverpool, while 23-year old defender Nedum Onuoha is nearing fitness.

Tottenham Hotspur's England winger Aaron Lennon has recovered from the ankle injury he picked up last month and is ready to return at home to Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Sebastien Bassong is also in contention after recovering from a hamstring injury but fellow defender Ledley King is unlikely to feature due to a similar problem.

Wigan defender Erik Edman is set to face his old club.