Manchester United’s list of absentees has blighted their progress this season and left manager Erik ten Hag under pressure at Old Trafford.
United are slowly getting players back to fitness but with the festive fixtures coming thick and fast, it could be too little, too late for the Dutch coach.
Captain Bruno Fernandes has been ever-present for his manager this campaign but could find himself suspended for one of the crunch upcoming games.
As reported by The Mirror, Fernandes is just one more yellow card away from a one game ban in the Premier League.
The midfielder has picked up four bookings so far this season and one more will see him miss the subsequent fixture.
What makes avoiding the suspension even more important for United is the nature of the fixtures on the horizon.
United face trips to Liverpool and West Ham as well as hosting high-flying Aston Villa before the New Year and given Fernandes’ importance to the side, Ten Hag will be desperate to see the player avoid a caution in the coming weeks.
Bournemouth also visit Old Trafford in December and should Bruno pick up a yellow card during Wednesday’s game against Chelsea, he will miss that fixture.
A cynical mind would see that the Bournemouth game is the easiest to navigate without the skipper and missing that game at Old Trafford would be the least damaging to the side.
Furthermore, a booking in the Bournemouth game would mean he misses the trip to Anfield, arguably the fixture he will most want to avoid missing.
Given the way Fernandes plays, it would be a surprise to see him get through the festive fixture list unscathed.
Ten Hag will surely be reminding his captain to pay extra care in the upcoming games to ensure he is available for the festive schedule.