I’ve seen a few people be quite dismissive of the injury crisis at Manchester United. Personally, I think it’s because we only ever see some posters when the chips are down and all they want to do is pile into the manager. When we hire a new manager, they complain it’s the wrong appointment. They then disappear when things appear to get better, only to return again every time we have a bad run of form to complain about the manager. Surely they must either be trolls just on the wind up, or people desperate for validation needing to come on to say “I told you so” as some form of kudos to themselves. I don’t know, it takes all sorts.
Either way, the basis of their argument seems to be “injuries happen”, which of course they do. But that does not mean injuries impact every squad evenly. Firstly, timing of injuries and to which players matter. Your second choice GK getting injured just before you play a relegation candidate at home will obviously be less impactful than your best/ key player picking up an injury before playing a top four side away. Likewise, a player picking up a small injury that will keep them out for two weeks will hit differently just before an international break as opposed to a the two weeks Christmas schedule.
So it’s fairly obvious that factors such as which player(s) and how important they are for the team, the length of time and the timing of the injuries, as well as the schedule of which games they miss are all irrefutable determining factors in exactly how impactful the injuries suffered by a side are. Meaning that just being dismissive that injuries “just happen” is really selective ignorance because not all injuries impact clubs evenly.
In relation to our club, there are many factors that make this injury crisis particularly impactful. The sheer number of injuries stands out as somewhat excessive, as well as the distribution of those injuries (4 of the 5 first team full backs being out of example) . The timing of the injuries are annoyingly disruptive, getting so many defenders injured while trying to settle a new keeper and alter the way the defence plays is making it harder than it would ordinarily be. The timing in terms of the schedule has also been problematic, playing two top four rivals away from home, as well as our toughest UCL fixture.
The final issue, which really is the elephant in the room when it comes to explaining why injuries affect us to a greater extent, is the fact that we actually have a pretty poor squad…