By Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw, senior adviser to the clinically ill, University Hospital of the North Circular Road.
As expected, Alexis Sánchez played for Chile last night. And indeed was rather successful as Chile beat Uruguay 3-1 in a World Cup qualifying match.
Following his hamstring injury which he picked up training for Chile before the first match, Alexis played with his thigh heavily strapped. But that did not stop him scoring twice in 16 minutes in the second half. He went off on 84 minutes. Quite what shape that now leaves him in we won’t know until he gets back to England.
In Chile’s game Edinson Cavani scored first for Uruguay after 14 minutes and Eduardo Vargas equalised with a header just before half time.
Alexis Sánchez then put Chile (the reigning Copa América champions) ahead from the edge of the penalty area on 60 minutes and then shortly after scored a second. Part of his reason for wanting to play this game is that this took Alexis to 36 goals, which is one short of the record for the country currently held by Marcelo Salas.
Meanwhile, although I suggested yesterday that Manchester United had just an average run of injuries at the moment the Telegraph is telling us this morning that they could have seven players unavailable for Saturday’s game including, so they say, the “entire first choice defence”. Given the way the Man U defence has been playing, this could give them a significant advantage against Arsenal.
Here’s the list of problems the Telegraph has foreseen.
- Eric Bailly: injured until Christmas with knee ligament problems. Mr M has asked questions about the man’s level of commitment.
- Chris Smalling: injured and has had his bravery questioned by the all-seeing manager.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic: suspended but Mr Mo has still demanded that he play.
- Wayne Rooney: doubtful (although that might be a description of his style of play rather than his injury status). He got a swollen knee on working out with England.
- Marouane Fellaini: calf injury
- Antonio Valencia: doubtful due to broken right arm
- Luke Shaw: doubtful but training. Mr M is waiting for the opportunity to abuse the medical staff on this one and could make Shaw run around a lot saying “it is only a broken leg”.
As expected even before he moved to the far north Mr M has ordered a complete and no holds barred review of Manchester United’s medical arrangements, and has let it be known that he holds the medical team personally responsible for the level of injuries.
This is obviously extremely worrying for journalists who for the past ten years have been able to fill every bit of blank space on their back pages by writing “Arsenal Injury Crisis” in big letters and then making up some details without any reference to the number of injuries other clubs have. Changing approach is not what journalists enjoy doing.
It is reported that Mr M has been seen prowling around the corridors of Very Old Trafford (Built 1910) shouting at cardboard cutouts of Eva Carneiro that are strategically placed around the building specifically for “M” (as he now likes to be known) to abuse.
“M” has won three of his last nine Premier League games but this fact is only sparsely reported as every time a journalist mentions the fact it is chopped on the grounds that such a revelation is not in the national interest.
So what will “M” do (other than blame everyone else?) If there is no Rooney and there is no Ibrahimovic this suggests Rashford will move to the number 9 position from the wing, which means there could actually be an improvement in the Manchesterian performance.
Elsewhere on the injury front the website “Just Arsenal” claims that Santi Cazorla is available for the Man U game, but reading the text it seems that this is (by the writer’s own admission) just an assumption.
Santi has an Achilles problem, and these are very difficult to judge in terms of how long they will take to heal – which is why the sites that deal with such matters have left his return date blank. With the Achilles you simply don’t know. That’s why it is called the Achilles. (Actually that isn’t why it is called the Achilles, but I thought I would just see if you were still awake).
Red London, with as much information or non-information as Just Arsenal (but with added click bait that leads into a Sky Bet advert – really does Sky Bet have no morality as to how it advertises?) however reaches the opposite conclusion.
As for the Metro, they ran the headline “Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal to return for Arsenal v Tottenham” just before that game. Ah well.
Now you know, or not, as the case may be.
- Alexis will start, injured or not; when will the madness stop? (NB this is the story you have just read)
- When Arsenal built the Ems they stayed in the top 4 to pay off the debt. How will Tottenham do?
- Ten transfer stories that are making the news as the new window approaches
- It’s not just the transfers that transform a team, it’s the tactics too.