Saturday, January 23, 2021

United duo to miss crucial games as fans’ fears come true

Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard have been ruled out for two to three weeks and will miss Manchester United’s games against Chelsea and Liverpool

The news just gets worse for Manchester United and it’s fans, with news pouring that the two first team mainstays will be out for the next few weeks, thus missing crucial games against two of their biggest domestic rivals. Lingard pulled up shortly before half-time in the first leg of the last-16 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, clutching his hamstring and giving signs that there could be an injury. Martial also injured, earlier in the game, but played on until the interval before disappearing for the second half.

“I think they will be out for two to three weeks looking at it now,” interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said during the press conference ahead of the Red Devils’ crunch FA Cup fifth-round clash with Chelsea. The three-week absence window also rules the two players out of the vital Premier League game at home to Liverpool next Sunday, and could also see both sit out the return leg against PSG on March 6 in Paris.

Solskjaer did say that it was a good opportunity for Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, alongside some of United’s younger prospects, to prove their worth during Lingard and Martial’s spell out. “It is a chance for anyone who plays, whether it is Alexis, Romelu or Angel (Gomes). Anthony and Jesse have done really well for us, they are vital in the attacking parts with their pace. Romelu and Alexis have different skill sets, so we just need to gel a team together for Monday now.”

The interm United manager also revealed that he was hoping to involve 17-year-old Mason Greenwood in some capacity against Chelsea, but the youngster was also struck down with an injury. “We were thinking Mason Greenwood now is your time to step in, but he’s also injured unfortunately. He’s out for a couple of weeks as well,” Solskjaer said. “That’s just how your luck sometimes goes, Mason will get his chance later on.”

Youngsters Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong have been training with United’s first team over the last few weeks, and Solskjaer said the pair have a “big chance” of being involved against Chelsea on Monday. “It might be (time for Gomes or Chong to come in),” he added. “We still have forward options but Angel and Chongy have been training with us all week, even the weeks leading up to this, so there is a big chance they will be involved.”

Authors Take

In football, since forever, one man’s misfortune (read injury) has been a boon to another, and in United’s case, two youngsters in Chong and Gomes get to dream of a start or some action against opponents of Chelsea’s caliber in a competition as revered as the FA Cup, which is never a bad thing. Such stages are where legends are born, and the young duo will be keen to etch their names into this fixture’s folklore and in the process stake a claim for more regular game time in the first XI. It is also a chance for Lukaku and Sanchez to remind everyone one their class, with the latter especially needed a strong showing to prove that his manager’s apparent defeat when it comes to coaxing a good performance out of him was just misplaced and that he still has a future at Old Trafford.

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