Manchester United can cope without Michael Carrick

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Manchester United face an uncertain forthcoming period after
it was announced that Michael Carrick will be out for up to six weeks with an
Achilles problem.

The fact that the England man was playing through that pain barrier for most of the past few games is a major indicator of just how integral he has become to United’s cause.

He has become a cult figure although somewhat still unsung at United due to his ball retention, his Paul Scholes-esque passing and the calming effect he has had on United’s midfield.

His presence has had a huge impact on United’s success, more so with the legendary Scholes's retirement. However, David Moyes will be without his lynchpin for almost two months, causing apprehension to creep in among United fans.

Just how is the club going to survive? Here are a few ways Moyes can reduce the impact of the midfielder’s absence.

David Moyes should use this opportunity to try new formations and midfield pairings. Players such as Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Anderson have not had much game time and when they have been on the pitch, in Kagawa’s instance, he has been played out of position.

Carrick’s extended absence should open the door to some if not all of these players to step in and, either take the opportunity by making the most of it, or letting this chance
slip and their United careers in tow as well.

For starters, I would like to see more of Kagawa in a central role. Yes he does not do much defending but that is not what he was bought for.

The Japanese was brought in after inspiring a young Borussia Dortmund side to the German double playing right behind the striker. Wayne Rooney prefers playing up top but United’s midfield shortcomings have forced him into a deeper role but, Kagawa can offer more to United in the hole than Wayne Rooney.

Rooney is a brilliant player, United’s best so far this season and does more hardwork than every other player on the pitch most of the time but, sometimes, the team needs brains not brawn.

Kagawa has that creative mind, he has an eye for a pass and more often than not, will make better decisions compared to Rooney.

His performance in the last quarter of the Real Sociedad match when Rooney was withdrawn spoke volumes of just how effective he can be. Where Rooney struggled to offer much in an attacking sense, Shinji hrived with Van Persie and United looked most threatening in that period.

Even in the West Ham match last season when United were trailing Kagawa
provided the inspiration to a typical fight-back, assisting Valencia then creating for van Persie.

Sir Alex Ferguson said after that game that he had decided to take
Shinji off then changed his mind at the last minute to Rooney, right before the
Japanese inspired United’s comeback.

If Moyes can have the guts to play Shinji in-behind Wayne Rooney and Van Persie, with either Fellaini or Jones, then we may get to see the best of the playmaker. 

Another option would be pairing Fellaini with Tom Cleverley. Granted, the big Belgian has not yet had a big performance to match his big pricetag but everyone knows just how dominating he can be on his day. 

If Moyes can get his trusted general to fire on all cylinders, Fellaini could become aneffective shield of the back four. He is more imposing than Carrick and what’s more, does not shy away from a tackle.

Combining him with Cleverley’s energy and will to run may result in a more balanced midfield. The Englishman can play further up field and leave Fellaini to hover in a deeper position.

Jones and Anderson could also be given a chance to play together in-behind Rooney. Anderson, despite his immense potential, has never really been able to realize it at Old Trafford, five years after his arrival.

The burly Brazilian was brought in as a hopeful replacement of Paul Scholes but a combination of injuries, fitness and weight issues have derailed the project.

He has shown flashes of his brilliance over the years and will be hoping
Carrick’s injury will force the hand of Moyes into playing him.

Alongside Jones, Anderson may have greater will to foray forward like he loves to do and try
to drive through the middle, something he is quite good at. More importantly it may give him one last chance to resuscitate his almost certainly ending
United career.

Either of those combinations could work for United depending on the opponent but one must feel that this, in itself, will be David Moyes’ single biggest challenge in the forthcoming weeks.

With crucial Champions League ties against Shakhtar and Leverkusen among tricky fixtures against Tottenham and his former side Everton, the Scot will have to pull on all his
managerial skill and experience at United to ensure Carrick’s absence does not derail United’s season.

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