Having secured three wins from four, the form table would suggest Manchester United are one of the hottest teams in the Premier League.
The reality couldn’t be further from the on-paper optimism. While United have enjoyed a productive domestic run to climb up the table, the manner of the triumphs has desperately lacked any conviction.
Erik ten Hag’s side were also dumped out of the Carabao Cup and beaten in Copenhagen to leave them on the brink of Champions League elimination. Plenty remains for Ten Hag to ponder, and he’ll have to navigate a tricky upcoming schedule without a whole host of injured stars.
Here’s how busy United’s treatment room will be after the November international break.
Hojlund’s Manchester United career has started promisingly despite his inability to get on a Premier League scoresheet.
The striker’s goals thus far have arrived almost exclusively in the Champions League but United are expected to be without the Dane for their critical Matchday 5 fixture away to Galalatsaray.
Hojlund sustained a muscle strain during the win over Luton Town and withdrew from the Denmark squad as a result. He’s expected to return at the start of December.
Eriksen also withdrew from the Denmark squad for their November fixtures, but the veteran midfielder will endure a lengthier layoff than Hojlund.
The former Tottenham playmaker is set to miss a few weeks with a knee injury he picked up against Luton before the break.
The United goalkeeper has endured a rough start to his career in Manchester, although he had shown some signs of stability before the November break.
And while Onana withdrew from the Cameroon squad after picking up an injury in their win over Mauritius, fears regarding a potential muscle strain have been eased. He’ll undergo an assessment ahead of the weekend’s trip to Everton, but Onana isn’t expected to miss any time.
The Northern Irishman has enjoyed a steady start to the campaign after rejoining the club in the summer, with his stable performances leaving Raphael Varane out in the cold.
Nevertheless, Varane is set to move up a spot or two in the depth chart after the break with Evans expected to miss United’s next couple of games with a thigh injury. The defender was ruled out “for a few weeks” after the Red Devils’ defeat in Copenhagen on 8 November.
It feels like an age has passed since we last saw Shaw don a United shirt. The dynamic full-back has missed much of the season thus far with a muscle injury, but he is closing in on a return.
While he may not feature in United’s upcoming games against Everton and Galatasaray, the trip to St James’ Park on 2 December has been pencilled in as a potential return date.
A critical figure during his debut season, Casemiro’s form has dropped off the face of the earth in 2023/24 and the arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe has sparked plenty of speculation over his future.
The Brazilian isn’t set to feature for United again in 2023 due to a hamstring problem, and a sale in January shouldn’t be ruled out. The Red Devils have been linked with midfield targets such as Copa Libertadores winner Andre.
Martinez’s absence has certainly been a blow for Ten Hag, although Harry Maguire has emerged as one of United’s most consistent performers in recent weeks.
The Argentine underwent his second surgery of 2023 in a bid to resolve the foot issue which ended his 2022/23 campaign early. Martinez has been out of action since the start of October, and there is no news as to when he’ll return to the fold.
Shaw’s form meant Malacia only played a bit-part role last season, but Ten Hag could’ve done with the Dutch left-back after Shaw succumbed at the start of 2023/24.
However, the United boss hasn’t been able to call upon Malacia this term after the defender underwent knee surgery in the summer. Like Shaw, though, the former Feyenoord star is closing in on a return and he could feature before Christmas.