Nobody likes to see a player seriously injured. It’s impossible not to feel sympathy for a guy doomed to a prolonged spell on the sidelines. Seeing Antonio Valencia writhing in agony on Tuesday night, Man United fans will have been doubly distressed: partly for Valencia, but also for what it could mean for their season.
In my opinion, it’s a considerable blow. Valencia arrived a year ago for a quarter of Cristiano Ronaldo’s price and with an even smaller fraction of his reputation, but steadily improved to become a key figure in the United team. When Wayne Rooney was scoring a spate of heading goals last season, the majority of them came from Valencia’s pinpoint crosses.
This season, United’s ageing midfield has already been outrun in the latter stages of games against both Fulham and Everton. Valencia offered an alternative: dynamism, stamina, and pace. With the exception of Nani, whose final delivery is far more erratic, they lack wingers of comparable quality. You simply can’t expect the same consistency from relative novices like Gabriel Obertan and Bebe.
The latest signs suggest that Valencia could be playing again before the end of the season. For United, however, it could be too late.
What do you reckon?