Just when United’s season seemed to have picked up speed, courtesy of three consecutive league wins and a nine-game unbeaten record, the Reds have been dealt a serious blow by the news that Michael Carrick could miss up to six weeks, with a persistent achilles injury likely to be the source of his problems.
Carrick and Danny Welbeck withdrew from the England squad due to face Chile and Germany at Wembley, but while the latter’s absence was somewhat expected given he’s been nursing a knee injury for the last three weeks, Carrick’s setback was a surprising one and one that could keep the mercurial midfielder sidelined until after Christmas.
Jonny Evans has praised Wayne Rooney’s performance against Arsenal on Sunday, hailing the United striker as an example for all his team-mates this season.
After a turbulent summer, during which he seemed set to depart United, Rooney has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in form and Sunday’s performance against the league leaders proved again just how valuable the 28-year-old is to David Moyes and Manchester United, as Rooney put in an impressive shift as well as providing the assist for Robin Van Persie’s winner.
Phil Jones has claimed Manchester United are being spurred on by the fact large sections of the media have already written them off and, having endured a poor start to the season, they are now relishing the opportunity to prove critics wrong.
Sunday’s 1-0 success over Arsenal moved United within five points of the Gunners, as David Moyes’ men extended their unbeaten run to nine games in all competition, with a third consecutive league wins pushing United right back into the mix, on a weekend when Chelsea were lucky to secure a draw, while Spurs and City lost.
Wayne Rooney said Manchester United are aiming to be top of the league by Christmas, after picking up what the striker called a “massive win” against Arsenal yesterday.
Robin Van Persie’s third goal in as many games against his former club since joining United, sparked raucous celebration at Old Trafford, as United fought tooth and nail to secure what could prove to be a huge three points, given that not only have David Moyes’ men cut Arsenal’s lead to five points, they’ve also sent a strong message to the rest of the league.
A team in crisis facing the runaway league leaders. A team in decline facing the new kings of English football.
That’s how it had been billed.
Luckily for us, however, Manchester United don’t do scripts, if anything they enjoy nothing more than defying them.
To some he’s the man tasked with saving Manchester United through a skilfully prepared potion of inch-perfect passes and delicate flicks, to others he’s simply an overrated footballer who will never have what it takes to grab a game by the scruff to its neck, while to others yet he remains an outrageously talented player who will follow Juan Sebastian Veron in the list of those who just “did not fit the system”.
Whatever your stance on Shinji Kagawa is, the Japanese splits opinions with the same incisiveness with whom he split defences wide open when playing for Borussia Dortmund.
As Manchester United and Arsenal face each other on Sunday, it’ll be impossible not to cast our minds back to transfer deadline day and wonder how things would have panned out had United agreed to sign Mesut Ozil, rather than deeming the German international too expensive, thus allowing him to join the North Londoners.
Since his arrival at the Emirates, the former Real Madrid man has been inspirational for the Gunners, who have won eight games and drawn one after losing at home to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season and arrive at Old Trafford with a five point lead over second-placed Chelsea.
With less than two months to go before the January transfer window opens, the second instalment of the silly season is about to get underway and considering the farce that unfolded during the summer, United can be expected to be at the centre of attention yet again – although hopefully not for the wrong reason this time.
Despite a rather unimpressive start to the season, the Reds are only three points adrift of second placed Chelsea and two points behind free-spending and free-scoring Manchester City, but while David Moyes seems to have moved a lot closer to developing an established XI, it’s undeniable that the United manager could do with some quality signings.