Team selection consistency is a luxury Louis van Gaal is yet to enjoy since the start of his reign at Manchester United.
It has been dealt an even bigger blow following David de Gea’s dislocated a finger whilst training with Spain last week.
The United keeper was named among the substitutes for his country’s 3-0 victory on Saturday at home to Belarus, but is still considered doubtful and faces a race against time for the crunch game with Arsenal on Saturday.
He joins a growing list of players in the treatment room and with Daley Blind, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Marcos Rojo and Rafael also injured, United’s defensive options are very limited.
Van Gaal’s stuttering start to his tenure at Old Trafford has forced him to use 31 different players already this campaign, but his goalkeeper has been the stalwart throughout.
- Anders Lindegaard in line to face Arsenal next weekend
- Daley Blind facing six weeks out with medial ligament damage
- David de Gea dislocates finger in Spain training
De Gea has been the shining light in a very disappointing season for the Red Devils, with some exceptional performances between the sticks whilst the defence in front of him continue to fall apart.
His absence could force understudy Anders Lindegaard to deputise. The Dane has been at the club since 2010, but has only made 19 appearances for the first team and Saturday’s match at the Emirates Stadium would be the biggest of his United career.
Another option could be Victor Valdes, who has been training at the club following his release from Barcelona in the summer, if De Gea’s injury is serious he could be offered a contract to provide competition to Lindegaard.
Valdes’ wealth of experience would be welcomed at the club, but whether he can still perform at the top level remains uncertain after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in March.
Despite such a poor start to the campaign, the Red Devils are just one point behind the Gunners and only two off fourth-placed West Ham, so a win on Saturday will put United right back in contention for the Champions League spots.