On Saturday red-hot Manchester United head to Premier League leaders Chelsea (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) in a massive clash at Stamford Bridge.
Louis van Gaal’s side have hit form at the perfect time of the season (six-straight victories will help you do that…) and a win would move them into second place in the standings. However the Red Devils will be without four key players for the trip to Chelsea.
[ RELATED: Suarez “had to nutmeg Luiz” ]
Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones will all miss out through injury to hand LVG a selection dilemma.
Carrick, Blind and Jones all started United’s 4-2 derby win over Manchester City last Sunday, while Rojo replaced Jones in the second half after the England international picked up a knock. During his post-match interview following the win over City, van Gaal was delighted he had a full squad to choose from but just a few days later he must now scramble to put together a makeshift defense.
“Carrick is injured, he cannot play,” van Gaal told MUTV. “But not only Michael Carrick – Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo cannot play. It cannot be worse because it’s two players in the left central defensive positions, and Jonny Evans is still suspended. Daley Blind and Michael Carrick play in the holding position in midfield, so I have to change my line-up a lot against Chelsea.”
Van Gaal did confirm that Luke Shaw will return from injury, so it is looking likely that United will line up with Antonio Valencia at right back, Chris Smalling and Paddy McNair at center back and Shaw at left back.
Not ideal timing for the Red Devils as they aim to keep piling the pressure on Arsenal and Man City to finish second behind Chelsea. The only real blessing is that Diego Costa is out for Chelsea, but either Loic Remy or Didier Drogba will provide a stern test for United’s makeshift defense. Another injury update from United’s Dutch boss revealed that Robin van Persie has been training this week and could make the 18-man squad at Stamford Bridge.