EPL 2016/17: Marouane Fellaini a doubt for game against Arsenal
Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini is likely to miss his side’s crunch clash against rivals Arsenal next Saturday. The 28-year-old suffered a calf injury during United’s 3-1 win against Swansea City at the Liberty stadium. The Belgian reported for international duty for his nation’s games against Holland and Estonia but had to pull out of the squad after experiencing discomfort in his calf.
“Fellaini picked up an injury against Swansea City and will go back to his club. We have a core of 24 players which is enough," Belgium manager Roberto Martinez said while speaking to the press ahead of Belgium’s match against Holland.
It is uncertain at this point if the former Everton player will be available for selection when United take on Arsenal at Old Trafford and judging by the way The Belgian national team sent him back to Manchester, the injury might be a bit serious. The 28-year-old has been a key player in Jose Mourinho’s side and has already made 9 appearances in the league this season. If United have to do without his services against Arsenal, veteran midfielder Micheal Carrick would probably deputise for him in midfield.
Fellaini’s injury piles up more misery on Mourinho as he was already facing an injury crisis. First choice defenders Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling are out injured whilst Luke Shaw’s involvement in the game against Arsenal is also in doubt. To make things even worse, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season during United’s game against Swansea.
Bailly sustained a knee ligament injury during United’s embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge and is expected to return to action only by Christmas. Smalling, who was not included in the England squad for the games against Scotland and Spain, has been diagnosed with a broken toe and is sidelined for a month. Antonio Valencia suffered a broken arm during United’s win over neighbours Manchester City in the EFL Cup and has undergone surgery. The 31-year-old is back in training but is still four weeks away from first team action.
Mourinho will be hoping that he doesn’t have to deal with any more casualties as he a tricky run of fixtures coming up. The 20-time league champions have four consecutive home games starting with the visit of the Gunners. It will be followed by the crucial game against Feyenoord in the Europa League and two matches against West Ham United, the first of which is an EFL Cup tie.
United have been on a poor run of form recently and find themselves 6th in the league table, 8 points behind leaders Liverpool. They have also dropped down to the third spot in their Europa League group.
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