Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal probably thought the international break would work to his advantage, providing the Red Devils an extra week to nurse a long injury list closer to full fitness.
Van Gaal hasn't been so lucky though, losing no fewer than three key first-team stars to fresh problems after part one of a double header of European Championship qualifiers.
Red Devils medical staff will be forced to make room for Michael Carrick, David de Gea and Daley Blind on a metaphorical treatment table in desperate need of relief, but just how many United players are now out of contention to feature against Arsenal on Saturday evening?
Van Gaal now without 10 first-team options
United's quite shocking absentee list has now reached double figures and most worryingly that 10-man cast of terror seems to be concentrated to a number of key positions.
Central defence is in particular a huge concern for Van Gaal, with even makeshift options in Carrick (groin) and Blind (knee) now joining Marcos Rojo (shoulder), Phil Jones (calf) and Jonny Evans (foot) on the sidelines.
- Daley Blind facing six weeks out
- Victor Valdes won't be ready to replace De Gea against Arsenal
- Louis van Gaal to make check on Man United outcast this week
Could Falcao be the first to return?
Rafael (muscular), Jesse Lingard (knee) and Radamel Falcao (calf and knee) are also further headaches for Van Gaal, who must be particularly concerned with the Colombian striker's struggle to stay fit since signing a blockbuster £260,000-a-week loan deal with the Red Devils.
Falcao's missed United's last three games with a persistent calf problem, which can no doubt be directly linked to a long recover from a cruciate knee problem suffered earlier this year, one that ended the marksman's World Cup dream.
Of all Van Gaal's absentees Falcao has the best chance of making the squad for Saturday's Premier League showdown at the Emirates, although its defensive reinforcements that Van Gaal could do with desperately.
Andres Lindegaard, Paddy McNair and Chris Smalling will form part of the rearguard tasked with keeping Alexis Sanchez quiet, so perhaps on the evidence of a crippling injury list Van Gaal will be best served to go on the attack in North London this weekend.
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