Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will be forced to shuffle his deck like never before ahead of this Saturday's showdown with Arsenal, although a deepening injury crisis has been eased by the news that two top stars have been passed fit to feature at the Emirates.
Key trio Daley Blind, Michael Carrick and David de Gea all picked up problems during the international break to stretch United's depleted squad still further, while Radamel Falcao continues to struggle with a calf problem which stopped him playing for Colombia last week.
Falcao has effectively been ruled out of the Arsenal game by Colombia's national team doctor Carlos Ulloa, who is reported by the Daily Star to have said: "He is ending his last phase of recovery, we expect that may be in eight days."
Press conference confirms welcome double boost
Van Gaal did finally have some positive news on the injury front ahead of this weekend's clash with the Gunners, both Angel di Maria and De Gea have both been passed fit and will be included in the squad that travels to North London.
Daley Blind's early injury diagnosis did sour that update though, with the Dutchman currently in a knee brace with ligament damage and facing 10 days of complete rest before having a scan to find out the extent of the problem.
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Injury-round up very much a mixed bag
Elsewhere Van Gaal confirmed that he expects Carrick to be available for the Arsenal match, despite pulling out of the England squad for games against Slovenia with a niggling groin problem.
Carrick's club colleague Luke Shaw featured against Scotland and complained of a sore hamstring during the 3-1 win at Celtic Park, a niggling problem which leaves him rated as doubtful in yet another defensive headache for Van Gaal.
United desperately need Shaw to play through the pain barrier to paper over the cracks of what already looks to be a makeshift defence, with no direct replacement available at left-back.
With Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones all still sidelined it looks like Chris Smalling will be partnered by Paddy McNair in central defence, unless Van Gaal opts for the experience of Carrick at the back.
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