·7 February 2023
·7 February 2023
Man Utd face rivals Leeds in a Premier League double-header this week, although they have a few problems on the suspension and injury fronts.
What they also have, though, is real opportunity. A win in the first game against Leeds on Wednesday would see them draw level on points with Man City in second place in the Premier League.
It would also cement their chances of finishing in the top four and returning to the Champions League next season
They will be up against a team bereft of confidence and without a manager, with Leeds sacking Jesse Marsch following the 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest. That left the Yorkshire club just one place outside the relegation zone, and that is only down to their goal difference.
However, could suspension and injury scupper Man Utd’s chances?
Casemiro is the only Man Utd suspended for the Leeds match. The Brazilian was sent off in the Red Devils’ last match against Crystal Palace for violent conduct, which comes with an automatic three-game suspension.
Man Utd have decided against appealing the suspension, as Erik ten Hag explained, meaning he will miss both games against Leeds, starting with the upcoming rearranged fixture this week.
He will also miss the home clash with Leicester City on 19 February although his suspension does not carry over into European competition, so he can play against Barcelona in the Europa League.
Casemiro is just one of the midfielders set to miss out, with Man Utd facing a mini injury crisis.
Christian Eriksen is out long-term with an ankle injury. The influential Dane could be out for the rest of the season. Scott McTominay will also be missing from the Man Utd side for the clash with Leeds due to injury, as will Anthony Martial and Antony. Donny van de Beek has already been out for some time.
"They are not involved tomorrow," Ten Hag replied when asked about Martial and McTominay. "And the same with Antony, also not available tomorrow, so we have to sort it out."
That will almost certainly mean a first start for January arrival Marcel Sabitzer, while Jadon Sancho is also now expected to come into the side.
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