LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Manchester United have been dealt a huge blow heading into Saturday’s English Premier League clash with Chelsea, following the news that four key players have been ruled out.
The Red Devils are eight points behind Chelsea heading into this top three battle and manager Louis van Gaal believes the Blues are in the perfect position to win the title this year.
Van Gaal revealed at his press conference that vice-captain and key holding midfielder Michael Carrick and defenders Phil Jones Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo are all out of the clash at Stamford Bridge.
Carrick is out with a calf problem, while Jones and Blind both have ankle injuries and Rojo is apparently suffering from an adductor problem.
All four players featured last weekend in the 4-2 win over Manchester City.
“It is a puzzle,” boss Van Gaal said. “It is the worst scenario.
“Marcos and Phil can both play left central defender and Jonny Evans is also suspended so I do not have many choices.”
Van Gaal admits also that he could be forced to use captain and star forward Wayne Rooney as the holding midfielder this week, which means Robin van Persie or Falcao could be drafted in to lead the attack.
“Daley Blind and Michael Carrick could play as a holding midfield player and I don’t have another option, or I have to play Wayne Rooney again in that position.
Manchester United head into this EPL fixture with an impressive run of form after winning six straight, but their shocking injury setbacks have seen Chelsea moving as “Even” favourites to secure all three points at home.
Chelsea will start favourites, at least according to the bookies and pundits, but the Blues boss Jose Mourinho expects Van Gaal to field a competitive side.
“Their squad is amazing,” Mourinho said. “They have (Chris) Smalling. Of course they don’t have (Jonny) and (Phil), but (Paddy) McNair and (Tyler) Blackett.
“Van Gaal is a fantastic coach to develop players. The kids played a lot of matches. They are more than ready.”
Mourinho says he has no new injuries to worry about — revealing also that striker Loic Remy has a better than 50-50 chance to play after missing the last game.
Remy missed the 1-0 win over QPR, but the Frenchman could replace Didier Drogba in the starting lineup.