There are times when your fingers cannot be crossed often enough. This appears to be one of them. After the medical room at Carrington had resembled Heathrow airport during an airline strike for so long, the club’s official website is reporting that “The United squad is arguably stronger now than at any other point during 2010” Virtually everyone except Antonio Valencia and Owen Hargreaves are back to full fitness – and even Hargo is due to make his comeback against Wolves in the Carling Cup before the end of the month.
Yet it was only a few days ago that Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Anderson, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs where unavailable through a variety of injuries. Sir Alex Ferguson will now have the pleasant dilemma of selecting a side from a large, fully fit squad by the time West Bromwich Albion visit Old Trafford after the international break. The only near certainty is that his back four is beginning to pick itself following the successful reunion of Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the middle of it.
“When you know your defensive part is strong and solid, then it gives you the encouragement and the freedom to attack at will” Ferguson explained “if our defence is solid, then we can wait until the 85th minute to win a game. We’ve always been able to do that.”
Anderson, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Nani, Park, Fletcher and Gibson are all vying for a place in midfield while Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov are being pushed by Javier Hernandez, Michael Owen and Federico Macheda up front. “With Owen, Chicharito and Kiko, we’ve got really terrific choices” Sir Alex said “this is where it’s proving more difficult for me, choosing the right players in the right game.”
No matter how deep the squad may be, avoiding frequent, long term injuries is vital for winning a marathon 38 match championship race as Ferguson sadly found to his cost last season. A change of fortune this term can make a huge amount of difference between final success and narrow failure.
Is United’s squad good enough to win the title if serious injuries are avoided?