That horrendous run of injuries which gave Sir Alex Ferguson so many nightmares this time last year are rearing their ugly head once again. Out of the 25 player squad Sir Alex selected at the beginning of the season, eight are either definitely out of contention for the visit to Villa Park on Saturday or are not expected to recover in time. Rooney, Hargreaves, Valencia, and Owen are all unavailable while Evra, Rafael, Anderson and Giggs are highly doubtful to make a full recovery.
The official club website reports that “The cornerstones of United’s defence could be altered against Aston Villa on Saturday following injuries to both full backs in the Manchester derby. Rafael limped off early in the second half against City when it became apparent that he couldn’t shake off a knock suffered just before the break in a feisty duel with former Reds striker Carlos Tevez.
Later, Patrice Evra was also withdrawn from the fray, leaving Ferguson to fret on his French left back’s fitness. “Patrice had an ankle injury which we’ll assess tomorrow” Sir Alex told MUTV “Rafael has a dead leg so it’s not so bad. He’ll miss Saturday of course but he should be ready for the following week.”
Cynics and City fans might have sneered at the manager’s pre match talk of injuries and illness when a strong United side was named an hour before kick off but the boss insists there were genuine concerns in the ranks at Carrington.
“We’ve done well to get a good team on the pitch tonight” Sir Alex added “the big problem for us was Scholes and Fletcher. Scholes has been on medication for the last two days, he hasn’t trained. Darren only trained this morning. He had an ankle injury but he showed today he was okay.”
Wes Brown and John O’Shea both turned in good performances as second half substitutes for Rafael and Evra and the academy produced pair and are on standby to start at Villa Park.”
Just like he was forced to do last season, Ferguson once again finds himself in a difficult position where there’s little else he can do except grit his teeth and soldier on in the best way he can.
Will United be able to cope with so many injuries on Saturday?