Darmian hobbled off against Wolfsburg with what looked like a hamstring problem and Smalling had to play the final ten minutes up front with an injured leg as Man United had used all three replacements.
With such huge injury problems continuing to mount, removing the centre-piece of our defence in Smalling would be the cruellest of blows and one which it looks like Louis van Gaal will have to deal with.
Louis van Gaal says Darmian has a hamstring injury & Smalling probably a groin problem, with both doubtful to face Bournemouth on Saturday.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 8, 2015
“Matteo Darmian has a hamstring injury and Smalling probably a groin injury,” van Gaal confirmed.
“Smalling could not jump at the moment of the set plays and that goal [Wolfsburg’s third] was also because of that. He had to give it [defensive responsibility] to another player and that’s always a question of communication and quality. With Naldo [who scored twice], we knew in advance that he was a very important header for them.
“I don’t know [whether they will play Bournemouth], it’s happened this evening, but normally they are out for Saturday.”
When it rains it pours and United’s injury table is like an oversaturated sponge in a kitchen sink at the moment. Our squad is already very stretched so taking Darmian and Smalling out of the equation, not to mention a potential three match ban for Bastian Schweinsteiger, is going to stretch it beyond its limits.
Van Gaal has given plenty of opportunities to younger players during this injury crisis but it looks like he is going to have rely on them even further in the coming weeks.