Robin van Persie hasn’t played in the last two Manchester United games against City and Liverpool after being ruled out with a groin strain he suffered during training last week.
It is the first time that the 30-year-old has missed competitive matches in two years after he put his Arsenal injury woes behind him.
Against City, we missed his presence (and goals). Not having van Persie forced us to play through to the attack much faster rather than having him to hold play up and retain possession. However against Liverpool, Javier Hernandez stepped in and was superb. His movement and finishing were world class, especially given that he has had little to no game time this season.
As much as David Moyes will be keen to get van Persie back into the starting line-up as soon as possible, he can’t make the same mistake that Sir Alex Ferguson did with Nemanja Vidic last season.
Ferguson rushed Vidic back into action and he suffered a setback as a consequence. Moyes will be tempted to bring van Persie back in this weekend but there is no point in a rushed return for the Dutchman when we have Hernandez waiting in the wings.
The Mexican has sat patiently and bided his time for an opportunity. Moyes needs to give it to him when it is there. Hernandez would be forgiven for voicing frustration at his lack of game time but he has always had an infectiously positive attitude, something Moyes needs to reward with a chance.
As well as Hernandez, Rooney is on fire having played a hand in eight out of the last ten goals United have scored and Welbeck has now returned from injury. In the attacking sense, United have plenty of options so van Persie should not be rushed back.
If van Persie played on Saturday and aggravated his injury, he could be sidelined for far longer than a week. Moyes can’t take that risk.