It began with a Twitter rumour concerning "crutches" and "a garage" yesterday, continued with a mysterious absence from training, and has now become an actual proper news story: Angel di Maria, so says the Manchester Evening News, will not feature against Crystal Palace.
Whether this counts as a blow is up for debate. United have certainly looked short of invention and pace in the last three games — all losses — and Di Maria certainly offers those. In theory. In recent practice, however, he's been largely miserable from the bench, and his crossing has verged on the Bebe-esque. Worse, there's be a definite air of complete unarsedness emanating from the pricey Argentine, and with rumours of a loan to PSG swirling, one can't help but wonder where his head's at.
If he is missing, then he won't be alone. Michael Carrick's done for the rest of the season, and a mysterious virus — phillius jonescillus — has been sweeping the dressing room. In short, nobody has any idea who's going to be jogging out at Selhurst Park in a couple of hours. Don't panic.