Manchester United’s season has been blighted by injury. But, perversely, it could be saved by suspension.
Because Bastian Schweinsteiger was suspended for three games on Thursday, after an elbow on Winston Reid in the West Ham game, which was punished retrospectively.
His introduction to the Manchester United team has not gone smoothly and he simply doesn’t look fit enough to affect a positive change in results at the club.
He is clearly a favourite of Louis van Gaal, who last week called the World Cup winner ‘my big friend’ at the press conference leading up to the Wolfsburg game.
When fit Basti will probably play. But he doesn’t complement Michael Carrick as both are less mobile than they used to be. So the regular starting line up has seen Basti partner Schneiderlin.
But, even at 34, Carrick is a more effective Manchester United player than the German right now. Basti is off the pace but Carrick still sets it.
We sincerely hope that Carrick and Schneiderlin impress in the next two games because, if they do, even a boss as stubborn as LvG would surely have to let them continue in the Manchester United engine room.
And if they hit it off as a partnership (which we feel that they will) they could yet save Manchester United’s season and Louis van Gaal from the sack.
Carrick’s passing ability, twinned with the energy and bite of the Frenchman, would surely represent United’s best midfield.
Schweinsteiger was a world class player in his pomp. But he has lost his dynamism at the same time as moving into a faster and more physical league. It could turn out to be a lethal combination in the context of his career.