While news of Michael Carrick’s impending six-week absence may set off alarm bells among United fans who’ve enjoyed something of a renaissance of form under David Moyes – they are nine games unbeaten in all competitions – it shouldn’t take long for that trepidation to turn to tranquillity.
There are three reasons to stick with the Red Devils’ run of form during Carrick’s absence, starting with backing them to beat Cardiff upon the Premier League’s return, at 11/20.
Of Moyes’ available central midfielders, Marouane Fellaini is best suited to deputise.
The Belgian made a valuable all-round contribution to Everton’s midfield last season, scoring 11 goals, laying on five assists and performing admirable defensive duties by successfully making 2.6 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 2.1 clearances per game. He also played a deep-lying role at Standard Liege before moving to England.
With the afro-sporter being afforded just five starts in all competitions since arriving in Manchester, and Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Ryan Giggs all less matched to Carrick’s role, it gives Moyes the perfect opportunity to allow his summer signing a run in the side.
United have lost just 14% of the games that ex-Spurs midfielder has missed in his Red Devils career.
This is the Geordie’s eighth season in the red part of Manchester and, to date, he’s not been named in the starting XI 135 times in all competitions.
With public perception rendering Carrick’s importance to the team among the most mighty, it’s a reassuring fact that the side have only lost 19 of those games, a mere 14%, and none of the four this term.
The defending champions only have two troublesome league fixtures in the seven that Carrick could potentially miss.
With reports suggesting the cement-haired midfielder could be sidelined until Christmas, it will please many of the United faithful to see that only potential banana skins Everton and Tottenham cross their paths in that time.