In the last couple weeks, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United have faced Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and most recently, Liverpool. One would think the Red Devils would now be able to take a breath and enjoy routine victories over Crystal Palace and Southampton. However, this is far from the truth as Solskjær revealed he has lost ten first team players to injury and they will not be fit for the midweek tie in London.
Manchester United’s Injuries May End Top Four Hopes
An Endless List
United now face Crystal Palace away in midweek before welcoming the Saints to Old Trafford at the weekend. Solskjær will have some very big selections to make as Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Mason Greenwood, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia and Nemanja Matic will all be unavailable. To make matters worse, the in-form Marcus Rashford is also a doubt after picking up a knock against the league leaders on Sunday.
Trip to Crystal Palace is Crucial
Crystal Palace are in great form and have picked up some phenomenal results over the course of the season. They have defeated the champions Manchester City, scored three goals against Liverpool, thrashed Leicester City at the weekend and held United to a 0-0 draw earlier this season. Selhurst Park is a tricky place to go for any team, and Solskjær will need to have his tactics spot on if he will earn all three points.
United’s draw to Liverpool means they are now in fifth and may even slip back down to sixth as Chelsea have a game in hand. Solskjær will need to keep up his momentum and make do with the tools he has available. The Norwegian coach could be without as many as five out of his best front six and will likely have to call upon some of the youth team players. Palace are undefeated in their last six games and there is no doubt they will make United’s visit a very difficult one.
Having seen what happened with Lingard, Solskjær is not going to take the same risk with Martial in midweek and will look to have him fully fit before the weekend game. Fortunately, the majority of United’s first choice defenders are available and Solskjær will turn to Victor Lindelof to lead and organise the back line to deal with the troubles that Wilfried Zaha and Michy Batshuayi will look to cause.
Time For Youth To Step Up
The youth trio of James Garner, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes were all rested in the U18’s game, ready to play a role in the senior team this Wednesday. Chong and Gomes have both had a taste of what it feels like to play in the senior team, however, the pressure will be on as Solskjær will require big performances from both of them. Garner is yet to make his first-team debut and may feature off the bench this week as the likes of Scott McTominay and Andreas Perreira were impressive at the weekend and may retain their place in the starting eleven.
Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku have been shadows of the players they were at their former clubs, and failure to impress yet again may lead Solskjær to dropping them to the bench and giving Chong and Gomes the call-up.
Unfortunately, Solskjær will need to keep up his intensity going into March and squad rotation will be key in the next few weeks with heavy fixture congestion.
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