One notable absence from Manchester United's starting XI versus Queens Park Rangers today was Antonio Valencia. Many of you were likely even more curious about the Ecuadorian when you noticed he wasn't on the bench either and this concern may have been exacerbated by Ashley Young's woeful shift on the right flank. Well, it turns out that the winger is carrying a minor hip knock according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson:
"He had a hip injury. Just towards his back. He's had a bit of pain there for the last couple of weeks but he's been playing with it. That's the type of guy he is. He never mentioned it and plays on. All of a sudden, you ask him and he says: 'Yes, it's sore.' It won't be too long and he should be ready for maybe next week."
- Ferguson | Source: MUTV
Fortunately, the hip problem sounds far from serious (although Fergie isn't always forthcoming with injury information). Valencia being out for any period of time, though, is a concern and this is despite him being out of form recently (perhaps this was partially due to this hip injury?). Nani has a hamstring issue (and a contract issue as well) and with Young performing poorly as of late, we're suddenly lacking options in regards to selecting natural wingers. Ryan Giggs simply doesn't have the legs anymore in order to fly up and down the left flank and while Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck can do a job on either flank, both tend to drift inside from wide positions and they don't provide width.
Valencia sounds questionable at best for Wednesday's match versus West Ham United, as does Nani. Ferguson could try Young out wide again on Wednesday with any of Welbeck, Giggs, or Wayne Rooney on the opposite side. The manager could also opt for a midfield diamond against the Hammers as he'll likely have a plethora of relatively fresh central-midfielders to choose from: Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Nick Powell, Giggs, and even Rooney. Darren Fletcher likely is to be given a rest after featuring twice in the past five days. In addition, Ferguson could also pick from Rooney, Welbeck, Robin van Persie, and/or Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) as a strike force duo ahead of the diamond.