After our 3-0 victory over Chelsea when we lost Patrice Evra to injury for three weeks it did dawn on me that we could have a massive injury crisis by the time we head to Italy to defend our crown against Mourinho’s Inter Milan.
However, I opted against blogging at that point due to the fact that we had Rafael, Evans and we were awaiting the debut of Fabio as cover. As we now know, all three players have picked up injuries that will mean that will be out for a considerable amount of time. Although Evans should be back by next weekend – we know that he has been carrying this ankle injury for some time, could this flare up again?
Rio Ferdinand was last seen in the Premier League against Spurs at White Hart Lane, almost two months ago now and we need him back playing as soon as possible so that he can regain match fitness by the time United head to Italy on the 24th. Yes, we do have a good month till that day – however the injuries to Ferdinand and Evans are a concern considering Nemanja Vidic is out of the game through suspension.
For the trip to WBA, United are without Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Brown, Fabio, Anderson, Rooney, Welbeck with the news that Cristiano Ronaldo was also a doubt for the game against Spurs. Every club experiences injuries at different parts of the season. We have a large squad that are more than capable of getting through this period – although the Champions League is a different story when it comes to the quality that is needed. Neville, Giggs and Scholes are proving to be even more invaluable that they were in their heyday – with some good performances in recent weeks, but how long can the old guard cover for?
Inter Milan are a world class side with a top manager. They’ve had their fair share of criticism this season – mostly reserved for Mourinho himself – but we know that if we get through this stage, it is a massive step to reclaiming the European Cup. Inter’s record in this Champions League season isn’t anything to shout home over. Losing to Bremen and Group winners Panathinaikos, Mourinho wasn’t content with that and the two times European Cup winners then went onto, luckily might I add, draw with Champions League new boys Anorthosis Famagusta. Their form in Serie A has been better, although recently lost 3-1 to Atalanta and are now in second place behind Juventus, with a game in hand.
I’ve blogged before about the poor record the European Cup winners have had since winning the tournament (with every side since AC Milan in 2003, going out in the last 16) and we will need to be at our best to overcome the Serie A Champions. I hope that we don’t go into the game as we did in May 2007 against their city rivals AC Milan. United, leading 3-2 from the first leg, only needed a draw to setup a historical meeting with Liverpool in Athens – as we know we got hammered 3-0 with a makeshift defense consisting of O’shea, Brown, Vidic and scouse lover Heinze. United looked tired, considering we were chasing three trophies before the game, whereas Milan were out of everything else – and if memory serves me right, rested every player against Udinese the week before. I hope that Ferdinand, Evans and Evra can recover time to get match fit and put in a better performance than the previous one in Milan nearly two years ago now.
You may feel i’m overreacting or being too pessimistic regarding a game that is a month away. However, I know that Inter have a lot of quality in the form of Maicon, Cambiasso and the extremely talented Ibrahimovic and we will need all of our squad ready for what hopes to be a classic battle. With all players fit and ready to go – I have no doubt that United can overcome Inter Milan but if Ferdinand isn’t available for the first leg – I will be concerned.
Questions to be asked:
Will Rio Ferdinand recover in time for Inter Milan game?
Will Evra, Evans and Rafael be match fit for the game?
How bad is the injury crisis at United?