Manchester United have suffered a potential selection setback ahead of their Premier League clash with Watford this afternoon, with key defender Luke Shaw unlikely to feature from the off.
The Red Devils will definitely be without French duo Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane after they picked up thigh and hamstring injuries respectively. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could also have to contend with the enforced absences of both Edinson Cavani and Shaw.
Cavani missed the Manchester City match last time out and was not included in the Uruguay squad for the recent international break due to a tendon injury, while the England left-back has not appeared in training footage this week after he suffered a concussion against Pep Guardiola’s charges.
Solskjaer was coy over the pair’s availability in Friday’s press conference, but it’s very unlikely that they will be able to take their places in the starting XI when the Red Devils travel to Vicarage Road.
“There are a couple of doubts with illnesses and small niggles,” the Norwegian revealed. “Paul (Pogba) is out for a while, Rapha (Varane) is out for a while. Apart from that, players will be coming back in the near future, some this weekend, some in the week, but that’s the same for other players.”
The news that Shaw is highly unlikely to play any part for the 20-time English champions against Watford will leave Solskjaer feeling gutted.
Although the England international hasn’t been in top form this season, he has still started every Premier League game for United, highlighting how integral he is to the team.
His underlying numbers indicated how effective the 26-year-old has been this term despite his slip in performance levels. As per WhoScored, Shaw has averaged 1.8 crosses per league game – the highest tally amongst his teammates – and 2.1 key passes, the second-highest total when compared to his colleagues. Indeed, Old Trafford legend Rio Ferdinand has spoken highly of the left-back’s “exquisite” ball distribution in recent months.
Therefore, United’s attack could well be blunted if the marauding left-back is forced to watch on from the sidelines, providing a major blow to the Red Devils’ chances of securing a much-needed victory in Hertfordshire this afternoon.