At the start of the season, Manchester United’s midfield looked to be a force to reckon with, featuring new arrival Nemanja Matic, whose ploys ensured a strong attacking reign for Paul Pogba.
However, in the months since then, supporters have had to witness much frustration, with injuries emerging out of the blue.
Their first worry was Paul Pogba, who has been ruled out till after the New Year. This was quelled initially by a splendid performance by Marouane Fellaini, who also hit a bump, as he recently picked up an injury during the international break.
With both of them being ruled out of Saturday’s encounter against Liverpool, fans were at least anticipating the return of another central talent. But they might have to face disappointment even there.
In his pre-match news conference, Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Michael Carrick won’t be fit enough to feature against Liverpool, by stating: “Michael Carrick I know he cannot play, I know that.”
The veteran midfielder, who was named the captain at the start of the season, had picked up a calf injury. However, his recovery process was expected to be complete by Saturday, giving supporters hope that he would ease some of the pressure on their midfield.
Now, Jose Mourinho will have to commence thinking about a strategy to best deal with the situation at hand. The absence of the 36-year-old won’t be too much of an issue due to the splendid form of Matic.
As for attacking options, the injury might finally give Ander Herrera the opportunity to re-ascertain himself in the first team. The Spaniard was in fine form last season, and even won the hearts of the fans and bagged the Player of the Year Award. However, with the new strategies being employed by Mourinho, he has been sidelined so far.
In other areas, particularly at attacking, the Red Devils are in formidable form, and thus, the derby encounter will be one to look forward to.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.