LEIGHTON BAINES looks like missing his first Premier League game of the season at Manchester City on Saturday, after sustaining a hamstring injury in last night’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
But boss David Moyes revealed that Nikica Jelavic climbed off his sick-bed to complete 90 minutes – and but for a series of baffling decisions by referee Michael Oliver the Blues would have been celebrating victory.
The influential Baines – Europe’s most prolific chance creator so far this season – also completed the 90 minutes.
But Moyes revealed afterwards: “Leighton has a bit of a hamstring injury. He did it in the game but carried on in the last 10 or 15 minutes.
“I would think he would miss a game.”
Moyes also added that Jelavic’s inclusion was a last-minute decision, but that he was pleased with the Croatian’s contribution.
“I thought we put in a big effort to get that result but it could take its toll,” he said.
“We’ve got Hibbo (Tony Hibbert) back and Gibbo (Darron Gibson) back which has eased it a little bit, but I was worried that Jelavic was in his bed with flu symptoms until yesterday.
“He hasn’t trained since Saturday and yesterday I wasn’t playing him. But we decided this morning when he said he thought he was OK to play and I thought he was much better tonight.
“He made a great opportunity for himself and probably should have scored after beating the boy.
“Overall I thought it was a much improved performance.
“He’s definitely been off colour but I thought he held the ball up better tonight, I thought he was more of a handful and looked as if he could give us something in the game.
“I was happier with him tonight than I have been for a few games. He did well because I was probably expecting to have to take him off after 55 minutes or so because of the way he had been.”
Moyes was also pleased with his side’s display.
“I thought we played really well tonight against a good Arsenal team but great credit to the players for the character they showed to come back from going a goal down so early,” he added.
“We deserved the point for the way we played after that and I thought we kept it going in the second half as well. “It was a real big effort.”
But Moyes was less generous in his description of Michael Oliver’s display. The referee denied the Blues a clear penalty when Mikel Arteta hauled down Steven Pienaar and Moyes said: “We should have had a penalty. We played a really good Arsenal team and a lot of games are won by decisions referees make or don’t make.
“We were given nothing tonight whatsoever. We had to earn everything we got because we weren’t going to get a jot that’s for sure.
“I was disappointed by the foul on Pienaar not being given, but I was more disappointed by the one we chipped back in and he gave a foul on Fellaini. I’ve had a chance to see it and he doesn’t touch Mertesacker.
“Then he gave an offside against us when they had a boy nearly on the line. That was as mystifying as any of them really.
“But we’ve got to do it ourselves.
“We didn’t start in the first minute but we kept going until the final minute and we had two or three good opportunities in the last five minutes.
“We whipped a couple across the face of goal and chipped a couple in, but Arsenal are a really good team and we ran them close.”