It’s been an interesting week for Manchester United. Buoyant after a hard fought victory over an old and traditional adversary. The sobering come down from that victory emerged, not through an immediate dropping of points, but rather the loss of arguably United’s most steadying midfield influence nowadays, Michael Carrick, to an injury that could see the midfielder miss up to six weeks of the season.
Carrick took a long time to win over the Old Trafford faithful but over the last two seasons has been the recipient of high praise. Non more so than from the leader of United’s choir. Hardcore United super fan Pete Boyle has the crowd regularly comparing the midfielder with class of 92 legend Paul Scholes.
The next six weeks of Carrick’s absence in the United starting line up may well serve to prove his importance in the side. An importance that up until recent times was taken for granted by a large section of United’s support.
Whilst this injury opens a window of opportunity to others in the squad. Carrick’s lack of presence will no doubt be felt in the team at a time when it seemed that the MUFC faithful could look forward to getting their season back on track. Patience is wearing thin for players like Anderson and Cleverly, meanwhile Fellani hasn’t hit the ground running. This is largely due to being asked to play a position relatively foreign to him in Premier League football. If United are to kick on and improve on their seasons start someone needs to step up to the mark and fill Carrick’s boots.
Phil Jones’ promising performance in midfield against the Gunners will go someway to easing the worries of Moyes and the fans. Jones however, does not possess the passing prowess and distribution of Carrick. Some will argue that he makes up for this with his combative, driving approach. Jones is all action and whilst his tackling, power and hard work are attributes to be admired, they are primarily there to provide a platform for a midfield partner with craft and creativity as their main focus.
Another school of thought is that Kagawa could get a starting berth in a much preferred, more central position. Phil Jones would then be an ideal foil for the creativity of his Japanese counterpart. There are options available to Manchester United but there can be no doubt Carrick’s absence will be a loss felt by Moyes’ boys. Having started 36 of 38 Premier League games last season, Carrick had a huge influence in helping United to regain the Premier League crown. He has only missed two of the 11 games United have played in the league this term, but that number is set to grow and it will be interesting to see how United respond. If they are to have a successful season then they must they must swim the Premier League channel without Carrick for a while or sink in an ocean of doubt which still surrounds the post Alex Ferguson era.