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Manchester United's injury crisis compounded by new casualties

Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian are likely to miss this weekend's fixture against Bournemouth at the very least.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The list of injured players at Manchester United now contains nine names, with both Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian sustaining problems in the Champions League defeat to Wolfsburg on Tuesday night. They both appear to be muscular injuries; the former a groin and the latter a hamstring. Manager Louis van Gaal, quoted on United's official website, suggested that Smalling's injury was to blame for the German side's third goal:

"Matteo Darmian has a hamstring injury and Smalling probably a groin injury. 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."

He confirmed that both players look likely to miss Saturday's game against relegation strugglers Bournemouth, which will likely leave United with a completely makeshift back four. The good news is that Guillermo Varela can scarcely fare any worse than Matteo Darmian out on the right; and though some may suggest that losing Smalling is tantamount to losing Fabio Cannavaro, it's likely his performances so far this season have at least in part been the benefit of the manager's horribly defensive tactics.