Hargreaves forced to contemplate retirement after latest setback

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A flu-hit Manchester United side closed the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea to two points after labouring to a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

But Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to risk Owen Hargreaves after so long out of the game backfired disastrously after the England midfielder was forced off after just six minutes because of a hamstring injury.

It’s the latest in a long line of setbacks for Hargreaves and you must wonder how fragile his mental state is after such horrendous luck.

Ferguson admitted: “We took a gamble with Owen Hargreaves… It was a disaster.”

And the midfielder must be wondering this morning whether it’s worth all the pain and heartbreak to regain his fitness and once again battle for a place in the Man Utd starting eleven.

Man Utd have now been cut to 4/1 to win the Premier League after Park Ji Sung’s last minute winner, but it was a poor performance from a Man Utd team that had been hit with a flu virus.

Ferguson conceded that Paul Scholes, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra all played through the virus that kept Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson, Anderson and Frederico Macheda on the sidelines.

Ferguson will hope that his squad can fully recover from the epidemic as they face a huge game on Wednesday when they travel the 3.6 miles to the City of Manchester Stadium to play rivals Manchester City.

It’s a huge game for both sides as they struggle to live up to their potential this season, but a Man Utd win would stifle the predictions made by many that Man City are Chelsea’s closest title challengers this season.

Man Utd are 11/8 to beat Man City at Eastlands but it would take a much better performance than the one that saw of Wolves to do so.

Man City’s poor form has seen them drift to 14/1 to win the Premier League. See the full Barclays Premier League football betting odds here.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.