It is safe to say that, so far this season, Manchester United have struggled a lot with injury issues. They have been very common and have clearly disrupted the harmony and consistency of the squad. With news of Michael Carrick’s injury while training with England this week, he becomes the ninth United player to currently be injured, along with Robin Van Persie, Marcos Rojo, Rafael, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Radamel Falcao, Jonny Evans and Jesse Lingard.
Many of theses have a huge impact on the team. The list includes United’s two main strikers. However, most notably United’s key defenders are also included on that list, leading to the incredibly inexperienced back four that was fielded against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Although the international break will give United players the chance regain some fitness, manager Louis Van Gaal appears doubtful ahead of the crunch match at the Emirates stadium on November 22nd. When asked about the possibility of Falcao, Evans, Jones and Rafael making an appearance, he said, “no, I don’t think so because now some of them have already not player for five, six, seven weeks.”
As a team in transition this was always going to be a turbulent season for the Red Devils. The task has been made much harder due to the vast amount of injuries. Considering that they made a multitude of signings over the summer, the squad would always need time to settle and Van Gaal would need time to decide his first team. That is made incredibly difficult considering the fact that Manchester United have had to field 37 different players in all competitions so far this season, for comparison Southampton have only used 18. The issue is much more noticeable in defence, where Van Gaal has been forced to field over eight different defensive line ups in just eleven Premier League games. This could be the cause of the lack of fluidity and chemistry that has been plaguing the squad in recent matches, but it might also be part of the confidence issues that appear to have affected many of the players.
Injury trouble is also viewed by many as the reason behind Falcao’s slow start to life at Old Trafford. For some players, moving to a different league can be tough as it is, adapting to a new squad, a new country and a new style of football is always a challenge. However Falcao has missed a lot of match time due to an ongoing injury issue and in the games he has played, he has never appeared to be completely fit. It will be interesting to see if after a decent run of fitness can inspire the sort of form and brilliance that made Falcao one of the world’s best strikers.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that United have struggled to keep up with the countless injuries that have been piling up. However, with the international break hopefully allowing time for many players to recuperate, they could be looking at the end of this injury crisis. This is a crucial time in the season, as for Van Gaal’s men to have any hope of staying in contention in the new year, they need to step up their performances from recent games, and a good run form and fitness will be key.