Manchester United could be without seven senior players for their clash against Arsenal on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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With Jose Mourinho calling out Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw before the international break about toughness and playing through the pain, he has since seen others go down with knocks and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will also be missing through suspension.
Smalling and Eric Bailly are definitely out, while captain Wayne Rooney, Shaw, Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia are all struggling to be fit to face an in-form Arsenal who are 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League.
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Rooney did not feature for England on Tuesday against Spain and was sent back to United for treatment after picking up a knee injury in the Three Lions’ 3-0 win against Scotland last Friday in a World Cup qualifier. Via the Telegraph, Rooney’s chances of playing against Arsenal are rated at 40-60 plus full backs Valencia and Shaw will be highly unlikely to feature and Fellaini is struggling with a calf injury he picked up at Swansea City 10 days ago.
So, given all of that injury news for Mourinho to chew on, let’s see how United could line up against Arsenal if all seven of those players are out.
—– De Gea —–
— Darmian — Jones — Blind — Rojo —
—- Carrick —- Herrera —-
— Martial — Pogba — Mata —
—– Rashford —–
That’s not a bad team but when you look at the defense, you can only say that Blind would be first choice. Even that’s a stretch.
In midfield United still has options with Jesse Lingard and Morgan Schneiderlin around as cover but with potential Rooney out and Zlatan definitely missing, there’s a lot of pressure on Marcus Rashford to lead the line. Of course, he will have fond memories of playing against Arsenal at Old Trafford after his two Premier League goals last season in a big win but it’s still a big ask against an Arsenal side who look much more solid defensively and have Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in full flow in attack.
If United’s worst injury fears are confirmed and they lose (that would be Arsene Wenger‘s first-ever PL win over Mourinho in the PL) then Mourinho will have a legitimate excuse.