Fergie surprise at Wenger no-show

Last updated at 11:54 17 December 2004

Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed bewilderment at Arsene Wenger's failure to turn up for his Football Association hearing into Old Trafford's 'Battle of the Buffet' yesterday.

Wenger was fined a record £15,000 and warned about his future conduct by Soho Square officials after being found guilty of branding Ruud van Nistelrooy a cheat in the aftermath of Manchester United's 2-0 win which wrecked the Gunners 49-game unbeaten Premiership record.

The Frenchman's comments, which came amid chaotic scenes as Ferguson was pelted with pizza and soup outside the dressing room area at Old Trafford, sparked a serious downturn in relations between England's two major clubs, forcing United chief executive David Gill and Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein into peace talks.

United, and Ferguson in particular, has refused to enter into a public debate on the issue and today declined an invitation to speak out against Wenger for his attack on Van Nistelrooy.

Instead, the Scot limited his comments to an observation as to why Wenger requested a personal hearing, then didn't bother to attend.

"You don't like to see managers fined because it is a difficult job," said Ferguson.

"But I do find it amazing he asked for a personal hearing and never turned up. I am sure the FA were tickled pink about that."

Fergie sends Ruud for scan

Ruud van Nistelrooy seems certain to miss tomorrow's Premiership encounter with Crystal Palace as he continues to be troubled by a calf problem.

The 12-goal Dutchman has not played since the victory over West Brom last month and Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to send the £18.5million striker for a scan to discover the extent of the injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gabriel Heinze have been given a short break by their manager, so Darren Fletcher and John O'Shea are set to return. Kleberson (ankle) and Louis Saha (knee) are definitely out.

Squad: Carroll, Howard, G Neville, P Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea, Fortune, Brown, Bellion, Keane, Scholes, Djemba-Djemba, Fletcher, Giggs, Van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Smith.