Di Maria injury fear: should Man Utd call off Arsenal game?
With as many as five players injured on international duty, United deserve to be given a break
Manchester United's extraordinary run of injuries this season has continued during the international break with Angel di Maria the latest concern for manager Louis van Gaal after he limped out of Argentina's damp squib of a clash with Portugal at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
The winger was sent for an x-ray on his right foot as a result of the challenge from Nani, who is still technically a United player, in the 18th minute of the match, reports the Daily Telegraph. Di Maria was able to play on after several minutes of treatment, but was taken off after a hour of the game, which ended 1-0 to Portugal thanks to a goal in injury time from Raphael Guerreiro.
Argentina manager Gerardo Martino tried to play down concerns after the match. He admitted it was a "tough knock", but added: "We are looking at some x-rays, some images we took, but in spite of that we do not think it's too serious."
The player said: "It was just a blow. I hope it doesn't swell any more so I can play at the weekend."
Di Maria's injury comes after Daley Blind was ruled out until the end of the year with a knee injury sustained during the Netherlands' game against Latvia on Sunday. Before that, Michael Carrick was forced to leave the England camp with a muscle problem and goalkeeper David de Gea dislocated a finger while training with Spain.
There are also fears for defender Luke Shaw, ahead of Saturday's showdown with Arsenal, according to The Guardian. It claims his participation in the match "could also be in doubt after he was withdrawn in the second half of England's win over Scotland on Tuesday".
So with up to five Manchester United players potentially sidelined for the Arsenal game after the international break, should the Old Trafford club have the right to call the fixture off?
Writing before the injuries to Di Maria and Shaw, Adrian Durham of the Daily Mail argues that they should, and that any club that loses three first team regulars during an international break should be able to call off their next game.
"Having any player injured on international duty is unfortunate – as Liverpool will testify," he writes. "But to have three of their starting XI all crocked while on European Championship qualifying duty in the past few days has been spectacularly unlucky."
The players "have all picked up injuries away from Manchester United, and yet it's Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal who has to pick up the pieces," he explained. "So it's about time the clubs who suffer were given some sort of compensation, other than a token financial gesture.
"A United second-string side, with three injuries dumped on them by international football, away to Arsenal, is potentially lambs to the slaughter, and in simple terms it's unfair."