The Red Devils host bottom club Norwich this weekend with their top four hopes hanging by a thread, and Ralf Rangnick has plenty of injury concerns to contend with ahead of this must-win fixture
Manchester United ’s top four hopes will practically be over this weekend should they fail to at least match Tottenham Hotspur’s result, with the gap between themselves and Spurs in fourth place already at six points ahead of Saturday.
The Red Devils lost 1-0 at Everton last time out to make it just one win in their last five matches in the league, and after missing four players for that game, a further two picked up injuries during the contest.
Here is all you need to know about the current state of play at Old Trafford and the expected return dates of those currently on the sidelines.
Striker Cristiano Ronaldo limped off with an injury following the 1-0 defeat to Everton last weekend in what was the final bitter pill of the afternoon for the Red Devils, as their star player added himself to the list of casualties at the club.
The 37-year-old managed the full 90 minutes but as he limped down the tunnel at full-time, his injury was there for all to see as blood trickled down his leg, in what is a suspected shin laceration for the Portuguese international.
However, it is highly unlikely that it will be anything serious and it can be expected that Ronaldo will retain his place in the starting lineup for the visit of Norwich City on Saturday at Old Trafford.
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Brazilian midfielder Fred was the other player to pick up an injury in last weekend’s Goodison Park embarrassment, in which he was withdrawn in the first half after 36 minutes due to problems caused by an apparent groin injury.
However, Rangnick went on to confirm that he had been struggling with some muscular problems on his hip flexor and it now looks as though Fred will be ruled out of United’s game with the Canaries this weekend, with no expected return date specified.
Following the Everton game, Rangnick said: “Fred had some muscular problems on his hip flexor. We already are without McTominay. Without both defensive midfielders, it isn’t good for us.”
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Defender Raphael Varane missed out on United’s last game through injury and it is unclear if he will be fit enough to come back into the side for Saturday’s visit of Norwich, or whether he will continue to be ruled out.
The Frenchman completed the full 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw against Leicester City a fortnight ago, before picking up some muscular problems following the game which rendered him unfit for the Goodison Park contest.
Speaking on April 8, Rangnick said: “Rapha is still injured, he will be missing for the game tomorrow.”
Scott McTominay’s last appearance for the Red Devils also came against Leicester almost two weeks ago, with the Scotsman featuring for 55 minutes of the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford after being named in the starting lineup.
The midfielder was left out of the Everton game after struggling with a unique injury to his foot, and its severity is currently unknown, which makes it unclear as to whether he may return to action this weekend.
Speaking on April 8, Rangnick said: “He’s having problems with the sole of his foot.”
Left back Luke Shaw is set to be out for up to three weeks with a calf injury in which he had two metal bolts in his leg removed last week, meaning that he will once again be out of action this weekend.
The defender had recently overcome a bout of coronavirus ahead of his return against Leicester on April 2, but after featuring for just 45 minutes of that match, the England international is set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Speaking on April 8, Rangnick said: “The doctor told me they decided to remove two metal bolts in his leg and this will happen tomorrow and he will be out for the next two or three weeks.”
Veteran striker Edinson Cavani received another injury setback this season when he was withdrawn from Uruguay’s South American World Cup qualifier against Chile during the recent international break with a calf problem.
Cavani had only just recently returned from a thigh issue but is now set for a further spell on the sidelines, which could be up to and even more than a month depending on his recovery, and will definitely miss this weekend’s fixture with Norwich.
Speaking on April 1, Rangnick said: “According to the doctor, he will be out for a couple of weeks, four weeks, maybe even five weeks. So we have to wait and see. That’s obviously bad news.”