This article could start with the words; “At the moment, our treatment room must resemble the beach landing in Normandy – players' arms flailing around and field medics frantically trying to issue the right medication to each of them. This ain’t great because on Tuesday we play in the Champion’s League.”
However, that is the opening paragraph from the report of our match against West Ham in December 2009. I make this point to illustrate that this is not the first time Manchester United have had injuries stacking up, and it won’t be the last. Indeed, we even set a clean sheets record in recent years without the first choice defence fit.
Picking the first team at the moment must be a difficult task, my personal assertion is that David De Gea should always be in goal and there are a raft of stats around at the moment showing he is the league’s best keeper so far.
However, it would be hard to argue that Rooney and Hernandez should not be starting, both are currently crocked. The week in front of us doesn’t hold the hardest games in the club's history, but there are certainly potential pitfalls to be wary of.
Norwich will be buoyed by two wins on the trot and few of us can forget the atrocious result we recorded in East Anglia in 2005. But we should smash them with or without Rooney this time. If we don’t, then the first question marks will start appearing over this buccaneering young team.
Basel are hardly setting the league alight in Switzerland either, so it is the question of team selection that is again the most intriguing. This is where is comes in handy to have a few players with something to prove. Topping that list will be European Cup Final evictee Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgar is a seriously good player and if he can channel even one iota of his talent he should score on Tuesday night.
Michael Owen has had his chance and taken it already this season. The interview he gave to the Guardian at the weekend was not entirely as I expected. Although there was the predictable blather about his scoring stats and England career, the thing that stood out most for me was the determination of the man. His second goal against Leeds certainly looked like the strike of a man who means business.
Disappointing as the result in the Potteries was, it is hardly the end of the world. Many other teams will drop points at the Britannia stadium this season. The club is still in a tremendous position. This week, we’ll find out what the rest of the squad is capable of too.
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