If United have really missed one player this season it has been their talismanic captain Nemanja Vidic. While things look good for Fergie and the boys at the moment with that six point gap opening up against City and other would be rivals like Arsenal and Chelsea in disarray, the Reds clearly have some defensive issues to address.
Vidic suffered a knee injury during a Champions League match with Galatasaray on 19 September. And since then many pundits have said that his absence has been one of the main reasons why United have let in so many goals (21 and counting) this far in the Premiership season.
However even before his injury Vidic played in all four Premiership games which United conceded five goals – including the 1-0 opening day defeat at Everton. So in many ways United’s relatively poor defensive record has been maintained all season.
“It would have been crazy to play him against City, but against Sunderland – definitely. In the last 18 months he has only had 10 games or something,” Alex Ferguson told The Mirror.
“He is a battler, a real competitor. That uncompromising way of his – he likes defending, that’s what it is. Absolutely, he gives us the options.”
Vidic’s return certainly gives Ferguson options. But how long will he play for? Vidic is 31 now and might just be heading towards the end of a glittering career. His lack of match practice might cause even more problems for United in the short term.
However, I doubt is Fergie is losing too much sleep over any defensive frailties for now. With RVP and Rooney on this sort of form you would always expect United to score at least one more than the opposition. And United remain red hot favourites for the title.