Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal’s week just keeps getting better and better, with today’s news of the return of three key players.
Manchester United are currently riding a wave of positivity. First beating minnows Shrewbury in the FA Cup, then hammering Danish champions Midtjylland 5-1 in the Europa League and beating rivals Arsenal 3-2 at Old Trafford at the weekend.
Things have been so good of late that even Sir Alex Ferguson has been seen belting out United’s song ‘Glory Glory Man Utd’ in the stands with fans.
Now, with the business end of the league looming and last 16 ties of the Europa League to come, Van Gaal has been boosted with the news that three of his injured first teamers are set to return.
According to Metro, Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian are all close to full fitness and may feature in Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Watford at Old Trafford.
Speaking on the positive injury news, Van Gaal said:
“Players are coming back. It is positive,” he told Teamtalk.
“I think Martial can play, Darmian can play and maybe Smalling – we’ll wait and see for tomorrow.”
With Darmian and Smalling returning from shoulder injuries, United’s back line is in for a serious boost. Of late the defence has been cobbled together with the likes of Michael Carrick having to drop back into central defence just to shore up the gaps.
Martial, who was a late withdrawal from the game against Arsenal last weekend following a hamstring strain in the warm up, is also looking good for a return to a rejuvenated attacking set-up. With new boy Marcus Rashford taking full advantage of his opportunity, with four goals in his opening two first team games, Martial must be eager to get back into action.
A week ago Watford were likely eyeing this midweek tie as one in which to take a big scalp, however, after the last few games, in which United have finally shown their teeth, the visitors are likely to be far more wary.
Football is a funny old game. After the weekend Van Gaal must be far happier than he has been all season. Dogged by stories of his sacking and potential replacements, now the only stories are of free-flowing, attacking football and challenging for Champions League places once again.
The clicking of his expensive, youthful side could not have come at a better time.
If things continue to go as they have this past ten days, who knows – maybe the United board will see fit to allow the Dutchman continue for the final year of his contract and let the likes of José Mourinho, who is widely regarded as his replacement, wait a little longer.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena