Stupid international football. Stupid Switzerland. Phil Jones, one of the few United players to have made an okayish start to the season, has today been ruled out for three weeks to a month by Louis van Gaal.
Jones joins an extensive list of United injured -- nine, according to Van Gaal -- though the majority are fringe or young players. Marouane Fellaini is "more than a month" away from playing after sustaining a knee injury, while Michael Carrick "isn't ready but has run for the first time on grass". Others missing include James Wilson, Sam Johnstone, Ashley Young, and Jesse Lingard. Chris Smalling is also not fit enough to return to the team.
Still, it's Jones' absence that will be felt the most keenly. In his absence, United go into the weekend with just three fit specialist centrebacks: Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans and Tyler Blackett. Perhaps this is the time for Van Gaal to abandon the back three; if not, then the only cover available will be Daley Blind and ... maybe Darren Fletcher? Not an appealing prospect.
Ah well. At least Rafael and Luke Shaw are back and fit enough to play. And if the worst comes to the worst and United's defence vanishes completely, then at least there's a couple of players up the other end who look good for a goal or two.