Manchester United defenders are beginning to drop like flies.
Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling both missed Manchester United’s recent win at Swansea, which manager José Mourinho publicly castigated them for, but it has since emerged that the latter has in fact suffered a broken toe and will miss the next month of action at least.
The Daily Mail are reporting that further tests to Smalling’s injury have revealed it to be worse than initially thought – meaning that while the optimistic return timeline is a month, the England international may not play again before Christmas.
This will be a devastating blow to Mourinho, particularly as Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia have also been ruled out of action ahead of the busy December period. So depleted was the team at the Liberty Stadium last weekend that Mourinho had start a defence of Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Matteo Darmian, none of whom would be first choice normally and two of whom are midfielders.
That may have been alright against Swansea, but Man United’s next match is at home to in-form Arsenal in eight days time. This is a match they desperately have to win in order to keep in touch with the league leaders, and despite Mourinho’s stellar record against Arsene Wenger he can’t be confident going into this fixture if he has to name the aforementioned four names at the back again.
However, one would think that Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo are likely to come back into the team. Shaw too, provided he has fully recovered by then.
Smalling has not played for the club since October 23rd, when he looked severely off the pace in the 4-0 drubbing by Chelsea. It since emerged that the 26-year-old was playing with pain-killing injections in order to get through the 90 minutes.