Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck out for Manchester United opener
Manchester United will be without Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck for its Premier League opener Saturday versus Swansea City, the team announced Friday.
Van Persie is not yet fit enough after leading the Netherlands in the the World Cup, where the Dutch took third. Van Persie played in six World Cup matches, scoring four goals.
He also didn't participate in United's preseason U.S. tour as he recovered from the World Cup.
In addition to Van Persie and Welbeck, United will be without goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, winger Antonio Valencia and defenders Jonny Evans and Luke Shaw. Shaw recently injured his hamstring and will miss four weeks.
United manager Louis van Gaal said he remains confident for Saturday despite being down so many players and offered an explanation for the rash of injuries.
"After the World Cup, all the players are coming back at different moments and it is very difficult to train," said van Gaal. "We have the travel, jet-lag and a lot of matches in 14 days. Another reason is the amount of training sessions but we are doing half of what I have done with the other clubs so I cannot assume we have done that wrong."
SI's Grant Wahl presents the top storylines coming out of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City heading into the 2014 English Premier League season.
- Molly Geary