This one places Manchester United third on the rather dubious EPL Injury table just below Everton and Newcastle. With 10 injuries at the moment, Louis Van Gaal’s side has been ravaged by a series of short-term and long-term injuries alike throughout the season, hampering any possibility of getting a consistent run-out with his favored group of players. This International week has particularly given him more to worry about, with key first team players in David De Gea (Finger), Michael Carrick (Groin) and Daley Blind (Knee) getting injured, two during training while Blind had to be taken off after just 19 minutes – looks to be the worst affected of the lot.
His father Danny Blind, an acclaimed footballer himself is now a part of the Netherlands’ coaching staff, has confirmed his son has damaged the ligaments in his knee which will rule him out up to 6 weeks, meaning the midfielder will certainly miss the busiest and most pivotal period of Manchester United’s season. With Carrick also injured after returning from a lengthy period on the sidelines, Louis Van Gaal is short of options in the middle ahead of important games against the likes of Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool. The 24-year old has been one of the most consistent players at United so far, in terms of performances and sheer involvement if you like, in the middle, an area where the side has looked light and bereft of genuine robustness – since the days of a certain Irishman.
This Dutchman on the other hand, may not have the vision or the passing range of Paul Scholes but his ability to calm things down and help out of his back four will be sorely missed in the forthcoming games. Daley Blind has arguably stood out as Man United’s best signing thus far, mainly because of the versatility he brings to the side, this man could play at left back, center half like he did for most part against Palace and in midfield where he’s flourished at Ajax and was named the Eredivisie player of the year – last year and not look out of place. He’s also one of the few players in the league to have made the transition seamless, from the rigors of playing at the World Cup in Brazil to the more pacy and physically demanding Premier League. To think a side as fragile as Man United is in the middle, losing a player of Blind’s value should come as a serious blow to Van Gaal’s plans to get through this festive period unscathed. Here, I’ve touched on a few things the Red Devils will miss during the next 6 weeks.
PASSING AND ATTACKING CONTRIBUTION
Though the Dutch midfielder hasn’t made a telling contribution to the team’s success at going forward and scoring goals barring the late equalizer at the Hawthorns, that helped them salvage a point in a game they looked second best. He’s created 7 chances so far, in eight appearances, but none of them have ended up in a goal – blame it on the poor form of Robin Van Persie and the lack of fitness of Radamel Falcao. His passing has been spot on, as he’s managed a 90% of pass success rate, at an average pass length of 19 meters. Most of them have been forward clearly demonstrating the player’s ability to launch attacks from the deep. As a player that is almost always on the ball, he’s been dispossessed just 4 times in 720 minutes, a testament to his capability to hold on to the ball when he needs to, which also explains the large amounts of possession the side’s enjoyed in the last few games.
This is the area where Manchester United will sorely miss the presence of the Dutchman. Naturally defensive-minded, Blind has covered up for the unsettled and relatively inexperienced defence quite a few times this season – shielding the back four – often a back two with the full backs high up the field most of the time, well enough, so much so that after all the inconsistencies due to injuries, the side has only conceded 2 goals against two of last season’s top three teams – compared to the 4 they shipped in against City alone at the Etihad, a year back. Back then the side didn’t have a player who was not shy of putting in a tackle when there was a need to – with an average of 6 defensive actions per game – tackles, blocks, clearances he’s been at the thick of things at his new club.
Daley Blind, as pictured above has been very integral to the defensive side of Manchester United which has come under so much scrutiny in the past weeks. He’s won a 46% of his tackles – shows there’s still room for development, four out of 5 take-ons successful and a slightly better success ratio in the aerial duels where he’s won more than half of his battles in the air. His significance to the defensive shape of Man United’s game can be well understood when one looks back at the calamitous 5-3 at Leicester City where he was man-marked by one of foxes’ midfielders throughout the game, shunting him out of any meaningful possession.
Stats Courtesy – Squawka.com
Manchester United have had 36 injuries so far in total and Louis Van Gaal has already used 31 different players at his disposal, having to hand out so many debuts to youngsters from the reserves – some out of merit and a few others out of a real shortage of numbers. Blinded by injuries. the current injury list though doesn’t look good one bit with established names in Rafael, Jones, Falcao, Evans, Rojo, De Gea, Carrick and Blind lined up on the emergency table. But only one name will the Red Devils so badly miss more than anyone on that list and he is not Radamel Falcao.