Man United aiming to recover from surprise loss

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Second-placed Manchester United will likely be without Ryan Giggs when it aims to recover from a surprise weekend defeat when it hosts Wolverhampton Wanderers o

Updated: December 14, 2009 16:47 IST
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Second-placed Manchester United will likely be without Ryan Giggs when it aims to recover from a surprise weekend defeat when it hosts Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday.

The veteran midfielder's continued importance to United was underlined Sunday when he won the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award.

But he departed the previous day's 1-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa with a hamstring injury and manager Alex Ferguson is likely to rest him against opponents United has already beaten once this season.

League leader Chelsea has its own recovery to negotiate after a 3-3 draw with Everton left it without a win in four matches.

The Blues host last-place Portsmouth in one of four matches Wednesday, when Arsenal is at Burnley trying to keep the pressure on the leading pair and Liverpool hosts Wigan.

Giggs' absence would be an annoyance for Ferguson.

The 36-year-old former Wales international has been influential in matches against lowly opponents over the past few seasons. With United under-performing against its top-four rivals over the past two seasons, it has been those matches that have been crucial.

United has said it will give Giggs and fellow veteran Paul Scholes new contracts for next season. Scholes could play after sitting out the defending champion's first home defeat to Villa since 1983, which left it three points behind Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.

"They are part of the team and they are playing well," United defender Nemanja Vidic said. "They are still scoring goals as well, so there is no reason why they shouldn't get new contracts if they want one."

Wolves will be without Dave Edwards for as long as 10 weeks after the midfielder injured ankle ligaments in Saturday's surprise 1-0 win at Tottenham.

Winger Michael Kightly and striker Andy Keogh are already out with similar injuries.

"Losing Dave is another big blow for us," Wolves manager Mick McCarthy said. "Dave has always been available. He is very versatile and has done very well this season. He has done everything we have asked.

"Losing three players so quickly is a problem we could have done without."

Also Tuesday, West Ham is at Bolton, Blackburn is at Birmingham and Villa is at Sunderland.

Villa is in fourth place but is up against a Sunderland team boosted by the return of midfielder Kieran Richardson and defender Phil Bardsley.

The pair missed Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Portsmouth through suspension. Striker Kenwyne Jones could recover from a shoulder problem he picked up at the weekend, while midfielder Lee Cattermole is back in training.

Chelsea needs victory after it was jeered by some fans at the weekend.

"I was surprised to hear that," said goalkeeper Petr Cech, who conceded an own goal. "If you look at the wins here, all with clean sheets and a lot of goals scored, we have beaten Liverpool, Man United and Tottenham when they were second."

Tottenham meets Manchester City on Wednesday in the other midweek match.

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