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The injury situation is beyond a pisstake at the moment, but the way the team has coped is admirable. If someone had said 5 games into the season that we would be without our best central midfielder, one of our best wingers and our best Centre back all the way up until the end of January (and beyond), while our main rivals (Citeh & Spurs) suffer almost zero injuries to their squads and still only be 3 pts off the top, I would have said "no chance".
The silver lining to the ridiculous amount of injuries and their lengths is that the likes of Young, Cleverley, Anderson and Smalling should be very fresh for the title run in. The squad (IN THEORY) should just get stronger and stronger from mid-February onwards with players returning on a near weekly basis.
Young and Cleverley are close to a return, Scholes has started to get his sharpness back judging from his cameo against Arsenal (a classic cross field pass to Valencia helped set up the winning goal) and Carrick has played himself into great form in Anderson and Cleverley's absence (some of his passing yesterday was sublime). And with Young out, Valencia has turned in amazing performances. On current form he is would have been a bigger loss than Nani had he get injured instead. Giggsy has also performed well in the centre.
So by beginning of March, we should be in a situation where we have in-form and returning Central Midfielders to choose from, a pool of defenders who have had plenty of game time between them, Valencia, Nani and Young fit and 4 strikers who have 6 or more League goals to their name for this season.
Lets hope so mate!
It certainly hasn't gone that way the past couple of months though! Every week we get a player back, we lose someone else!
Completely agree with how well the squad have coped though. CL was a disappointment but to be where we are in the league is excellent. If we're still in a similar position after this next run of big games (Chelsea/Spurs away, Liverpool home) i'll be very confident for the title run in
- 1 Reply to Steve
and lets not forget that other clubs have also had injury problems - and now withdrawals due to the African Cup of Nations - and their squads haven`t coped very well. I know people like to have a go at SAF when he says how good his squad is but I think the way in which approaches injuries by always saying its ok we have the players to cope is one of the main reasons why utd do cope. IIt must be a huge boost to a player`s confidence, especially young players, when a manager as experienced as SAF publicly says I have faith in them to do the job. Conversely it probably works the other way when managers use injuries as an excuse for poor results and therefore imply that the players taking their place aren`t good enough. I seem to recall Mourinho doing that a few seasons ago when chelsea had a a run of injuries and despite having what the press called the strongest squad in the premiership - based mainly on how much the players cost rather than how good they were on the pitch - he kept saying what a big miss the injured players would be and how difficult it would be to cope without them. And what do you know the players brought in played down to his assesment instead of playing up to the sort of faith SAF always shows to his squad.