Van Persie's knee injury hobbles United

Updated: 2014-03-23 08:10

By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily)

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Manchester United's underwhelming season received yet another setback on Friday with the news that striker Robin van Persie will be out for four to six weeks with a sprained knee.

The Dutchman sustained the injury after scoring a hat-trick against Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday and news of the blow fell hours after United was paired with Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals.

Van Persie, 30, stands to miss both legs of the tie against the defending champion and will only be able to feature in two or three of United's final Premier League games if he is sidelined for the full six weeks.

"Following further investigation, Robin van Persie has a sprained knee, which will keep him out for around four to six weeks," United said in a statement on its official Twitter account.

The news arrives at an unwelcome juncture for United manager David Moyes, who had expressed hope the 3-0 victory over Olympiakos would prove a turning point in a wretched season.

United is currently 18 points behind leader Chelsea in the Premier League, 12 points below the top four, and has been eliminated from both domestic cup competitions.

Speaking before the full extent of van Persie's injury had been revealed, Moyes said the former Arsenal striker would miss at least Saturday's trip to West Ham United in league play.

"He's going to be scanned again today," Moyes said.

"We're not conclusive in everything we've seen yet, so we want to check that out and be sure. He won't be available for the West Ham game, but we'll try to give some update as soon as we can on the outcome of it."

Van Persie was United's top scorer last season, scoring 30 goals in all competitions as the club romped to the Premier League title in his first campaign since arriving from Arsenal.

(China Daily 03/23/2014 page11)