May 20, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) -- Brief news ahead of this weekend's Premier League matches.

* Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he would rest players for their match against relegation-threatened Blackpool.

United wrapped up a record 19th league title last weekend and will face Barcelona in the Champions League final next Saturday.

"Obviously people expect me to leave players out and that will be the case. I have to think about next week," Ferguson told reporters on Friday.

"I have to juggle the balls and make sure I get the right mix and keep the right energies for Barcelona.

"There are players who need a game anyway. Darren Fletcher, Paul Scholes and Anderson will all play. So will (Dimitar) Berbatov, (Patrice) Evra and (Edwin) Van der Sar."

* Arsenal, who are locked in a battle with Manchester City for third place, will hand late fitness tests to Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Abou Diaby for their final game of the season against Fulham.

The North London club are currently fourth in the table, one point behind City who occupy the final automatic Champions League qualification place.

"We have still Fabregas out as I told you last week and Clichy, Nasri and Diaby will have tests," manager Arsene Wenger said.

"If we get one or two to be available we are lucky."

* Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles is in contention to return to the side to face Aston Villa, manager Kenny Dalglish said on Friday.

The Portugal international sat out last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur through injury.

"He is training, so I think we should have him in and around the game for Sunday," Dalglish said on the club website (

"We won't take any chances, but we expect him to be fit."

The Merseysiders are sixth, one point behind Tottenham in fifth, and face the prospect of missing out on European football unless they can overhaul the North London club.

* Rafael van der Vaart is a doubt for Tottenham's game against Birmingham City, manager Harry Redknapp said.

The Netherlands international limped out of last weekend's victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

"He has a calf problem and he's struggling," Redknapp said on the club website (

Tottenham, who need to win to guarantee their place in the Europa League next season, could welcome back William Gallas, but Redknapp said they would "wait and see" if Ledley King, who returned to the side after a lengthy absence last weekend, is fit.

Tom Huddlestone (ankle) and Wilson Palacios (knee) could also return.

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