For Manchester United’s mid-week kick off against Crystal Palace, they will be bereft of the services of their prolific attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan who sustained an injury against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday
It is that time of the year when the Premier League goes overboard with its fixture list during a busy festive period. With a gap of only two days since facing Tottenham Hotspur on the weekend, Manchester United will take centre-stage at Selhurst Park to take on a languishing Crystal Palace side.
With a frantic run of games, manager Jose Mourinho would have liked to have a full strength side at his disposal, but will have to improvise due to an absence of a number of first-team players.
After struggling to break into the team at the start of the season, new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan has grown to become one of the manager’s first names on the teamsheet. His dynamism coupled with his pace and an eye for goal has made him a regular down United’s right flank. His ability to play centrally gives the players around him to have the freedom to drift into their accustomed positions.
The Armenian’s impact was prominent against Spurs when his goal handed the Red Devils their first home win in five games. However, in the second half, Mkhitaryan sustained an ankle injury due to a challenge made by Danny Rose and saw himself stretchered off. He is expected to return by Boxing Day, but is set to miss the game against Crystal Palace.
Another player set to miss out is defender Chris Smalling. The Englishman is understood to have fallen down the pecking order at the club, after he was subject to public criticism by Mourinho due to his unwillingness to play through pain.
Left-back Luke Shaw has also seen a lot of fingers pointed at him, and remains a major doubt for this match. Matteo Darmian is expected to start in place of the England international at left-back.
Antonio Valencia has been omnipresent at right-back for United this season, but is set to miss this game because of a suspension. He picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Spurs and will serve a one match ban.
Michael Carrick, despite playing in the game against Spurs, is expected to start his second match in the span of three days.