Varane to miss Manchester derby

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Raphael Varane is set to be out of action for a month and has been ruled out of the Manchester derby this weekend after picking up a hamstring injury. 

The Frenchman was forced off in the first half of Manchester United’s 2-2 draw against Atalanta in Bergamo on Tuesday and assessments have revealed he will not be fit for this weekend’s crunch clash against Manchester City. 

The news will come as a blow to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has only just got the centre-back back for selection after he recovered from a thigh problem. 

What do we know? 

Club sources confirmed on Wednesday evening that after an assessment with the club’s doctors, Varane is expected to be out for up to a month with a hamstring injury. 

That immediately rules him out of the Manchester derby this weekend and also means he is unlikely to be available for the games against Watford, Villarreal and Chelsea after the international break. It is hoped Varane will return for the start of December, however any problems with his recovery could also make him a doubt for the Premier League home game against Arsenal, and United's final Champions League group stage game against Young Boys.

What has been said? 

After the game Solskjaer said he was not optimistic but needed to wait for further medical assessment to offer clarity on the issue. 

“He felt his hamstring. So of course you can’t take any risks, unfortunately,” Solskjaer told BT Sport. “Rafa has been such a calming influence when he’s on the pitch. We lost him but that’s football.”

What does this mean for Solskjaer’s tactics? 

Varane’s return from injury for the win against Tottenham allowed Solskjaer to change his tactics and go with a 3-5-2 system to stop Spurs and earn United just their second clean sheet in 22 games. 

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Eric Bailly stepped into the back three for the draw in Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Victor Lindelof missing the trip with a knock he picked up in training on Monday. The Ivorian impressed in just his second start this season and could start again in a similar system at the weekend, should Solskjaer stick with a back five again. 

Another option would be to shift Luke Shaw to the centre and play Alex Telles at left-back. 

Further Reading

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