During his press conference on Friday afternoon, Jose Mourinho confirmed that Antonio Valencia is missing for the festive period, but doesn’t have a timescale for when the right-back is set to return. Valencia went to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital earlier this week with his teammates and was in good spirits but the manager confirmed “Valencia is out,”.
The Manchester United captain has played in every Premier League game for us this season and has been in good form. But he went off with 25 minutes to play in our last league game against West Brom.
Matteo Darmian filled in at right-back for the EFL Cup defeat against Bristol and had an awful game. The Italian has been so hit and miss for United since joining and while he is capable of top performances, like when we played Ajax in the Europa League final last season, more often than not he doesn’t look good enough.
Ahead of Leicester, where we will have to keep out the likes of Vardy and Mahrez, Jose Mourinho has a big decision to make.
The best option is probably to go with three at the back with Ashley Young playing as a wing-back on the right and Luke Shaw, who has looked good in his recent appearances, on the left. Daley Blind is also an option although he didn’t cover himself in glory against Bristol either, although did make an excellent tackle in the box to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity.
None of the alternative options are ideal though, especially ahead of a period that sees us with less rest than any other top team.