Something about the picture of these Old Trafford stars reminds us of Titanic.
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United will take on Rangers on Wednesday night without the club’s first-choice centre-backs.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have been successfully re-united at the heart of the Reds’ defence in recent weeks, starting together in all bar one of the last six games – the exception being Bursaspor away when it was deemed advisable for Rio to avoid the four-hour flight.
Now Ferdinand will miss another Champions League match, as will his Serbian sidekick following Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to rest the pair and place his trust in the likes of Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans.
Ferdinand and Vidic, who both trained at Carrington on Tuesday morning, have missed the same game on just one previous occasion this season – the 3-2 Carling Cup victory at home to Wolves, when Smalling and Evans played the full 90 minutes in tandem.
Absentees from training on Tuesday included Darren Fletcher, Darron Gibson, Gary Neville, Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen. (Manchester United official website)
Although Chris Smalling has looked promising thus far in his Manchester United career, he is still inexperienced, and a European tie at Ibrox is quite an intimidating atmosphere for someone who has played a handful games.
Jonny Evans has looked similarly shaky without either Vidic or Ferdinand alongside to guide him, and Rangers fans will be rubbing their hands together ahead of a match they will believe they can win.
The fact that Smalling’s and Evans’ only 90 minutes together resulted in two goals conceded to Wolverhampton Wanderers does not bode well either.
With Darren Fletcher looking increasingly unlikely to make it either, if Walter Smith were to attack the Red Devils, Rangers could pull off the first of the two wins they need to seal qualification.