Here's how it is shaping up...
The winger has found it tough to get going this season for Arsenal, thanks to the combination of stagnant form and injury. The winger injured his hip in the loss to Norwich, before suffering a groin strain when he resumed training ahead of the United game last weekend, and was forced to sit out. He missed the trip to Schalke, but Arsene Wenger has confirmed he could return this weekend. However the manager has said The Ox's inclusion will rest on a late fitness test.
Jonny Evans limped out of United's 3-1 win over Braga in Portugal on Wednesday, after suffering a groin strain which coach Mike Phelan discussed was sustained in the incident which led to United conceding a penalty early in the second half. Evans was taken off as a precaution and his injury is being assessed. He is questionable to start alongside Rio Ferdinand against Aston Villa tomorrow evening, who was rested in midweek, but the good news is Chris Smalling came through his comeback unscathed.
Ashley Cole is a big doubt for Chelsea's big match at home to Liverpool. currently nursing a hamstring injury. He missed the game against Shakhtar on Wednesday night with Ryan Bertrand covering. He has also been left out of the England squad against Sweden next week, but Chelsea have not entirely ruled him out as yet. The game is a late 4pm Sunday kick-off, meaning Cole has extra recovery time but it remains a long shot.
Newcastle have a doubt doubt over two key players heading into their home game with West Ham on Sunday, and Demba Ba will be especially keen to face his former club. He picked up a knock in the 1-1 draw at Anfield last weekend, and was left behind in the North-East as the rest of the squad headed to Belgium to fight back and claim a creditable 2-2 draw with Brugges last night. Pardew did say he was hopeful he would be fit, and Newcastle fans will certainly be feeling the same way. Like Cole, the Sunday kick-off ensures an extra day's recovery time.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald