Manchester United didn’t have Marcus Rashford in the squad against Liverpool this past Sunday, as the star forward was diagnosed with a stress fracture on his back. As a result, the England international will be out for around six weeks.
Losing your star player and top scoring threat is never easy. But it’s safe to say the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for The Red Devils. United will face several do-or-die games while Rashford rehabs from his back problem.
It’s a simple matter of analyzing the six-week span where Rashford will be rehabbing. During that busy stretch, he could miss up to nine games. The list includes Burnley, Wolves, Watford and Club Brugge at home. Meanwhile, the list of away matches shows the FA Cup Fourth Round tie as well as Manchester City (EFL Cup semifinals), Chelsea, Brugge and Everton on the road. And that’s not even considering what would happen if United progress further is any of those Cup competitions.
A decisive stretch for Manchester United
Putting things into perspective, United will fight for their lives in the coming weeks. They have the EFL Cup semi-finals against Manchester City, the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 against Brugge, and the FA Cup where they will face either Tranmere Rovers or Watford in the fourth round. That’s a complicated stretch due to what’s at stake in all of those contests.
United certainly didn’t want to lose such an important player in a busy period of the schedule since the Premier League matches over that span are complicated as well. Wolves and Chelsea are direct rivals for the final UEFA Champions League spot, while Everton are always a complicated opponent at Goodison Park. Burnley and Watford are sides on the bottom half of the standings, but they are not easy rivals, either.
Considering Rashford might also need time to get match fit, the earliest realistic return date could be March 7th at home against Manchester City. And even in that scenario, it would be plausible to imagine he would be coming off the bench. But even that might be a stretch. What happens if he needs more time? Then there’s a chance Rashford won’t return to action until after the FIFA International Break in March.
If United advance in the Europa League, then they play the Round of 16 in March 12 and March 19. Those two matches would fall in the span where Rashford would be recovered. But it would depend on whether he suffers a setback, and if he is fit enough to see action.
Either way, Manchester United will play a complicated stretch of games without Rashford upfront. And there’s no way to deny The Red Devils will miss the 22-year-old striker during the upcoming weeks.