at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to break up his dream team pairing of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney over Christmas, despite their goals firing Manchester United to top spot and heading towards a Premier League scoring record.
Ferguson, who has avoided rotating his £50million strikers so far, feels he has to change his policy to cope with a run of four games in 10 days, which started against Swansea City on Sunday.
Fringe players including Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs can be expected to play a part in fixtures against Swansea, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Wigan, with Ferguson confident that a maximum 12 points over the holiday period will lead to them reclaiming the title from Manchester City.
“December has already been a hectic month and now we have this run of four games in 10 days – and then the FA Cup begins. That’s quite a programme,” said Ferguson. “Using our pool of players will be important for us.
“It will be a different team every game, absolutely no doubt about that. All the players will be involved, I will definitely be making changes.’
Any rotation would carry some risk. Van Persie and Rooney have blossomed as a partnership by playing regularly together and have netted 19 of United’s 43 league goals this season.
Van Persie has scored in each of United’s last four games – all of which have been won – and Rooney has also netted five times in the same period.
With the league campaign approaching halfway, the scoring spurt of 11 goals in four games – including a famous 3-2 derby triumph against City – has given Ferguson’s men a chance to eclipse the Premier League scoring record of 103 set by Chelsea in 1999-2000.
United’s best in the modern era is 97 goals in 1999/2000, when they had their great strike quartet of Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham.
It is unlikely Ferguson will start with his star men against Swansea and then Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, which will give Hernandez a chance to shine after falling out of favour this season. – Mail On Sunday