Ahead of a Premier League clash with Crystal Palace this weekend, Manchester United face somewhat of an injury crisis in central midfield. Paul Pogba appears to be a long-term absentee, while Marouane Fellaini is out until after the international break and Michael Carrick has been sidelined too.
But this current Red Devils side boasts rather incredible strength in depth, something that was particularly evident last night as a vastly changed side produced a convincing 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.
And no player better epitomised the number of proven and experienced options Jose Mourinho has at his disposal this season than Ander Herrera, last season’s Player of the Year who has been forced to settle for a bit-part role since Nemanja Matic’s arrival during the summer.
With the aforementioned trio all sidelined, it was the Spain international who stepped up to partner Matic in midfield in the Russian capital, providing a reminder that he’s more than capable of filling Pogba’s void.
Indeed, the two-cap midfielder had the most touches of the ball of any player on the pitch, a whopping 118, while completing 93% of his passes – including a delicious through ball that lead to Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal in the second half.
Herrera also weighed in with two tackles, three interceptions, two dribbles and one created chance, highlighting his exceptional all-round game.
Although that bodes well for United’s clash with Palace this weekend, the performance also proved exactly why Jose Mourinho’s side can go far in this season’s Champions League while balancing out their domestic commitments – the incredible depth and competition for places within the squad.