Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has a few options as he mulls over how to setup his midfield following Daley Blind's injury.
Daley Blind’s injury for the Netherlands has given Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal a big problem.
The Dutchman has to decide how he’s going to structure his team ahead of the game against Arsenal this weekend, as another injury affects a key part of his squad.
Van Gaal has been forced to deal with injuries on a weekly basis since he first came to the club early last summer, but he does have options and will be working hard to stop the panic button from being pushed at Old Trafford.
One of the most obvious options is for LvG to insert Michael Carrick into the slot in front of his back four, if he’s recovered from the groin problem, which stopped him linking up with England for the current international break.
Carrick is one of the best in the business when it comes to reading the play, intercepting well and generally making it difficult for the opposition to play in front of United’s defence.
The boss could choose to slot Marouane Fellaini into the defensive role because he certainly has the presence and aggression needed to inject a defensive element into United’s midfield.
However, the risk with that is Fellaini’s recent form for United has been based on him playing in a role, which doesn’t require him to be so strictly disciplined in terms of United’s defence.
What could allow Fellaini to play that role is Ander Herrera returning to the team, although the last time Herrera played with his current rib problem, it set him further back in terms of his long term recovery.
Herrera could play with support to try and take some of the pressure away from his weakened area, but it’s still a big risk considering the magnitude of the game.
The most likely scenario could be Carrick, if fit, and Fellaini playing together in the centre of midfield to collectively protect two young centre backs in Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett.
The creativity can then come from the likes of Angel Di Maria on the left or right, with Wayne Rooney potentially dropping off from the front and another good option over on the right hand side.
Arsenal have a very talented and creative midfield and LvG has to find a way of stopping them.
United's predicted midfield for the game against Arsenal: Januzaj, Fellaini, Carrick, Di Maria