Vidic back to boost Rio-less Red Devils

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

Champions Manchester United head for a tough battle at Arsenal on Sunday with England defender Rio Ferdinand out of the side as he starts a four-match suspension.

However, Nemanja Vidic, who has missed United's last six matches, could return to the starting line-up after recovering from a calf injury.

Arsenal hope that their central defender Thomas Vermaelen, who did not suffer a broken leg against Aston Villa as first feared on Wednesday, has a slight chance of playing against United.

Eduardo, who pulled a hamstring against Villa, is definitely out. Emmanuel Eboue and Alexander Song, who have returned from the African Nations Cup, will be in the Arsenal squad.

League leaders Chelsea, who travel to Burnley for a Saturday evening kick-off, also welcome back Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou back in their squad after their return from the African Nations Cup.

Burnley, who have lost all three matches since Brian Laws replaced Owen Coyle as manager and have slipped into the relegation zone, include new signings goalkeeper Nicky Weaver and central defender Leon Cort in their squad.

Tottenham Hotspur, who are fourth, travel to Birmingham City without winger Aaron Lennon, who could be sidelined for another three weeks with a hernia injury and might need an operation, manager Harry Redknapp said on Friday.

Striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, who joined Spurs on loan from Monaco this week, will not be in the squad, while Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, linked with a move to Birmingham, is nursing a groin injury, but could be included.

Birmingham, who lost for the first time in 15 matches at Chelsea on Wednesday will have Craig Gardner, their new 3 million pounds midfield signing from Aston Villa available for the first time, but striker Kevin Phillips is still out with a groin strain.

Aston Villa, in the hunt for the fourth spot and a Champions League qualifying place, have failed to score for their last four league games and will be without midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker and defender Stephen Warnock for the visit to Fulham on Saturday.

Martin O'Neill, needing reinforcements, has recalled Nicky Shorey from his loan move to Nottingham Forest.