Prior to Manchester United’s Premier League match against Southampton this weekend, manager Louis van Gaal revealed that Radamel Falcao’s absence from the match-day squad had nothing to do with injury.
As quoted by ESPN, the United boss said, “Falcao isn’t injured, just not selected in the squad.”
So if it was a tactical decision rather than one imposed upon him, the big question is: Why?
With Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both starting the match, that left 19-year-old James Wilson as the only striking option from the bench. And for all his promise and undeniable talent, the youngster is yet to score this season.
To have Falcao on the bench is to have a wonderful option if required, a bona fide super-sub whose goals-to-games ration remains outstanding.
But the perfectly fit Falcao was nowhere to be seen, and one wonders if it had anything to do with the Colombian’s last match for United.
Falcao somewhat surprisingly started United’s FA Cup third round match against League One side Yeovil Town last weekend. But while United triumphed 2-0, Falcao had little impact and was substituted with 30 minutes remaining.
Having conceded 36 league goals prior to the visit of United, Yeovil may have feared the worst when they saw Falcao’s name on the team-sheet. But having made little impact when some would have expected him to fill his boots, could Falcao have played his way out of contention for United’s next match?