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Van Persie out for six weeks

Van Persie

London: Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will be sidelined for six weeks after spraining his knee in the midweek Champions League win over Olympiakos Piraeus, the club said on Friday.

The Dutch international is to miss the Premier League Derby at home to title-chasing Manchester City on Tuesday and next month’s Champions League quarter final against holders Bayern Munich.

“Robin van Persie has a sprained knee which will keep him out for around four to six weeks,” United said.

Arsene Wenger has the chance to ram Jose Mourinho’s words down his throat on Saturday, when his Arsenal side travel to Stamford Bridge looking to snatch control of the title race from Chelsea.

There would be no better way for Wenger to mark his 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal than to ruin Mourinho’s unblemished home league record as Chelsea boss after the Portuguese dismissed him as a “specialist in failure” last month.

The mind games in this season’s engrossing title battle have been simmering in the background but it is on the pitch where points are won and lost and the outcome of the Derby could prove pivotal on May 11.

Chelsea appeared to have taken a vice-like grip in the title race until last weekend’s controversial 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa and wins for chasers Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City squeezed things up at the top of the table.

Mourinho’s side still have a four-point lead over Arsenal and Liverpool, although they both have a game more to play, while fourth-placed City are six points back with three games in hand of Chelsea.

Chelsea, under Mourinho, have never lost to Arsenal. In 10 meetings, Mourinho had orchestrated five wins, while the other five were draws.

City are at home to bottom club Fulham on Saturday, while surging Liverpool will be looking for a sixth consecutive victory when they go to a Cardiff City side fighting for survival.        (Agencies)