Man Utd handed double blow as Erik ten Hag faces injury crisis

Man Utd handed major double injury blow as Erik ten Hag faces crisis ahead of Chelsea

Manchester United are facing a fresh defensive crisis ahead of crunch games against Chelsea and Liverpool this week with Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof both ruled out for at least a month with muscle injuries.

Erik ten Hag was already without full backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia while Raphael Varane was forced off at half-time of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Brentford that fellow centre-back Jonny Evans missed through injury.

It means United could be left to face Chelsea and Liverpool with only three available senior defenders.

Martinez made his first appearance for eight weeks as a second half substitute against Brentford, when he replaced Lindelof who had suffered a hamstring injury that will now sideline him until at least early next month.

But Martinez’s injury plagued season has taken another turn for the worse after the Argentina centre-back pulled up in training with a calf strain that is set to see him miss United’s next eight matches.

Martinez and Lindelof are aiming to play again this season but their injuries present fresh headaches for Ten Hag ahead of another critical week for the embattled United manager.

After Thursday’s trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, United host Premier League leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford three days later when Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot may be the only senior defenders available to Ten Hag. Youngster Willy Kambwala could be called into action.

United currently trail Aston Villa by 11 points and Tottenham by nine points in the race for Champions League qualification and desperately need a response to the wretched display against Brentford. Ten Hag is also without reserve team goalkeeper Altay Bayindir and striker Anthony Martial.

Martinez’s latest injury is a particular blow for United and will be a growing source of concern for Ten Hag.

The Argentine missed almost four months of the season with a recurrence of the broken metatarsal he suffered towards the end of last season and had only been three weeks when he damaged the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in early February.

As well as the Chelsea and Liverpool matches, Martinez and Lindelof are now set to miss the league games against Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Burnley and Crystal Palace and the FA Cup semi-final against Coventry at Wembley on April 21.

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