Manchester United right back Antonio Valencia is racing against time to completely recover from a broken arm incident on time as the Red Devils are poised to face Arsenal on Saturday.
The Ecuador international required surgery after he broke his arm in the game against Manchester City last month.
United manager Jose Mourinho earlier said the injury would sideline Valencia “for a while” but the team could have him sooner than expected. Matteo Damian has been temporarily filling for Valencia. He was in action during the triumph over Swansea before the international break and could yet feature at Old Trafford this weekend, as Valencia might not have gained full match fitness.
Aside Valencia, Mourinho has a lot of other missing first team players. First-choice striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended and he would not be available for the tie, due to his rough play. Centre backs Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling are injured, while skipper Wayne Rooney remains a doubt.
Luke Shaw has issues with his leg, and Marouane Fellaini his calf. Both players are doubts for the crucial game as United struggle to get their title-chase back on track.
Manchester United currently place 6th with 18 points from 11 games. Eight points separates them at Liverpool who sit atop the Premier League standings. Arsenal have the advantage going into the game. Arsene Wenger might get his pound of flesh against the Portuguese tactician – his bitter rival. The Frenchman has always recorded poor results when he faces Mourinho, but all that was when Mourinho was at Chelsea. Wenger has not defeated United at Old Trafford in the Premier League for a decade and it would be difficult to turn the odds going into the game. Both sides are eager to win as it would help their confidence level.