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Chicharito injury offers other strikers a chance

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez will be out for four or five weeks after tearing his ankle ligaments during the 2-1 win over Aston Villa. While he will be sorely missed by the team, his absence leaves a attacking space open which is likely to be capitalised by Welbeck, Macheda or the out-of-favour Berbatov. “We’re having a bad time with injuries at the moment,” said Ferguson. “It’s just as well we’ve a strong squad.”

Chicharito’s injury came in a match that bizarrely saw 3 players limp off the field having suffered injuries that were nothing to do with challenges. The Mexican was first, being stretchered off after an 8-minute treatment having turned his ankle while entering the box. Next was Villa keeper Shay Given, who tweaked his hamstring while racing out to make a clearance, and finally Jermaine Jenas left the pitch after pulling up while running.

This season, Hernandez has scored 6 league goals, but he has scored them at crucial times in matches, earning his team an extra 8 points. Four of his goals have come in games that no-one else scored in, and 3 have been since the disastrous game with Manchester City, when Manchester United most needed someone to step up.

Ferguson later confirmed that it was ankle ligament damage, and that he expected his super-sub to be out for around 4 or 5 weeks, meaning that the striker is set to return some time near the Christmas and New Year fixtures. In the mean time, with Rooney scoring for the first time in 10 matches against Wolves, some of the less favoured strikers will be hoping to be given a few performances.

Welbeck looks likely to become a regular United striker, with Ferguson starting him a few times already this season, and Macheda is back from a loan spell last season. More surprisingly, the 2010/11 season joint top scorer Berbatov has been all but forgotten this season. He has been given very few chances to play this season, and has only scored against Aldershot and Benfica, being played in games that are usually given to United’s second team players.