Manchester United’s Champions League campaign ended miserable yesterday. Wolfsburg defeated them 3-2 and the Red Devils have been relegated to UEFA Europa League. On the other hand, their Premier League outings have not produced the best results of late. United reached the top of the table about a month ago. But, they could not consolidate that spot and have drawn against weaker sides afterwards. Last weekend, in a home match, Manchester United had a dull goalless draw against West Ham United.
The team has been suffering a lot for the attacking problems. Earlier this season, they got rid of Chicharito Hernandez, Radamel Falcao and James Wilson. In addition, Louis Van Gaal also sold Angel Di Maria and sent Adnan Januzaj on loan. However, only replacements they got are Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial. Memphis has not yet proved his worth and eventually lost his spot in the starting lineup. Martial is slightly better but still he does not have the X-factor needed to carry the team on his own shoulder. And the most intriguing thing is the form Wayne Rooney is in. The captain has lost his touch and that has raised concerns among the supporters.
Only silver lining of this Manchester United team was the performance of their defenders. With a reliable David de Gea behind them, Chris Smalling and co have been phenomenal this season. They have conceded least number of goals in the Premier League in this campaign. With a troubled attacking lineup upfront, it has been their responsibility not to lose the matches. And to be truthful, they have done their job remarkably well. However, the luck is not on Louis Van Gaal’s side anymore. In the next Premier League match against Bournemouth, Manchester United are going to miss as many as six important defenders.
Following is the list of those defenders and their conditions.
Chris Smalling: He has been the best United defender this season. Smalling has truly played the role of the defensive captain and has given his best. Unfortunately for United, the defender picked up a muscle injury during the last match. It happened in the 77th minute and the team were out of substitutions. So, Smalling had to continue. But, he will have to undergo medical checkups and possibly he will miss the next match against Bournemouth.
Matteo Darmian: One of the best signings last summer, Darmian also picked up an injury against Wolfsburg. He had to leave the field towards the end of the first half with a hamstring issue. Youngster Cameron Borthwick-Jackson replaced him. It seems that the 18-year-old will start against Bournemouth in place of the Italian.
Marcos Rojo: The Argentine has been missing the fun for the last three matches. He suffered an injury to his left shoulder in training last week. However, to make things worse, he may be sidelined for the rest of the year. Rojo has already undergone a surgery and we will be updated about his status soon. After the surgery, he wrote on Instagram, “My operation was a success. Thank you to my beautiful wife, always with me. Thank you everyone for your messages of love and support.”
Luke Shaw: He has always been injury prone. Manchester United bought him last season, but he missed more than half of the previous campaign due to injury. This time too, the same things has happened. Shaw picked up an injury mid-September and has been missing since then. It’s not yet sure when he can make a comeback.
Phile Jones: Jones played against Watford two weeks ago. But, he was subbed off in the 68th minute and he could not play since then. An ankle injury has been affecting him and he will miss the next match. However, there is a chance that the English international will return to the squad next week.
Antonio Valencia: Under Louis Van Gaal, Valencia has been playing as a right back. In the absence of Rafael, he was the first choice right-back last season. However, the boss brought Darmian in this season and Valencia did not get a lot of chances this time. The Ecuador international has been injured for more than a month now and it’s also not sure when he can make a comeback.
Louis Van Gaal is surely having a tough time. Can he pull Manchester United through this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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