It could be an interesting month or so…
October and November were always going to be difficult months for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his Manchester United team.
The next number of games United have consist of Leicester, Atalanta, Liverpool, Spurs, Atalanta again, Man City, Villarreal, Chelsea and Arsenal.
And this period will now be even more difficult due to some injuries at the heart of the United defence. Raphael Varane is expected to miss a few weeks at least, as is Harry Maguire.
Man United injury woes
United’s replacements in this position are Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof. Two excellent choices, as far as third and fourth choice central defenders go.
But the problem is their fitness, and more specifically, Bailly’s fitness.
It is extremely unlikely that Bailly will be able to go from having hardly played at all over the past 12 months, to starting against Leicester on Saturday and then Atalanta a couple of days later.
The Ivorian defender has often impressed when given a chance with United, but no manager has been able to build a defence around him because of his poor injury record.
Is he going to play every single one of the next four or five games?
Enter Phil Jones
Jones has been strongly encouraged to leave United in recent months, even by former teammates, but now he may end up starting in some of the club’s biggest games of the season.
Axel Tuanzebe would be the fifth choice center-back, but he is currently on loan at Aston Villa.
Jones, who missed the majority of last season through injury, is still just 29 years of age, has played little or no football over the past three years, and he might see himself about to be thrown in the deep end.
He recently spoke about how online criticism aimed at him has led to him stepping away from social media for the good of himself and his family.
He said: “For some reason, maybe, I get more than others but I’m sure everybody would say the same thing. But people would say that’s part of being a footballer so I take it as it comes.”