Date:19th August 2011 at 1:22am
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For a team only one week into the season we can boast a surprisingly lengthy injury list!

Chicharito, Ferdinand, Vidic and Rafael have all joined the likes of Fletcher and Valencia in the medical room and left positions in the squad to be filled due to this.

Let’s look at Chicharito, his shouldn’t be absence should for much longer, and this can only be described as a good thing.

Fergie has chosen to place faith in Danny Welbeck, who on the back of a good pre-season started both the Charity Shield and the league opener against West Brom.  However I was hardly impressed, especially against West Brom. Berbatov is clearly out of favour as was displayed through the lack of playing time he has received since Hernandez’ injury, and lacking in confidence to begin with, this cannot have done his self-belief much good. Macheda has not had a look in, and if paper talk is to be believed Diouf is attracting interest from other clubs, with United willing to let him leave for around £6 million.

Rooney has been on fire up top, and his form, coupled with that of Ashley Young has been the saving grace for us, especially with De Gea requiring time to settle in the Premier League.

At the back we have been hampered with injuries, with Rafael out for 10 weeks, needing an operation on his shoulder and now have suffered the loss of both our first choice centre back pairing of Rio and Vidic.

With the keeper hardly inspiring confidence this is worrying, but with the summer return of Smalling and signing of Jones – a natural leader and someone who is not afraid to shout and organise the back four when needed things are not as bad as first feared. We also have Evans, who although may receive criticism from fans and pundits, still has a place in Fergie’s mind and is rated by the United manager.

There are several options for us at the back, with either Fabio playing at right back with Smalling and Jones at centre half and Evans at left back or Smalling at full back and Jones partnered with Evans should Fabio be needed at left back.

On a brighter note, the return of Fletcher will add to the midfield in spades, and Hernandez’s concussion should be wearing off enough for the Mexican to play sooner rather than later.

A more concerning fact with regards to the injuries is that of Rio Ferdinand. A couple of injury hit seasons saw him overlooked for the captain’s armband in favour of Nemanja Vidic and has struggled to stay fit for sustained periods of time.

Clearly when fit Rio is one of the best in the business, but the question over how long he can stay fit lingers. From Rio’s point of view he must have concerns over his long-term fitness, but from a United point of view, we certainly have enough cover – and quality cover at that – to make up for the loss.

The importance of having a strong squad cannot be underestimated, and we are about to find out just how important strength in depth can be.