Phil Jones may be the latest defender to add his name to the Manchester United injury list, but that should not prevent the Red Devils keeping another clean sheet in beating Wigan in their next Premier League game.
Jones was forced off after 20 minutes of the 5-0 victory at Fulham after catching an accidental elbow in the face from Clint Dempsey and the early prognosis is that he could be sidelined for as long as six weeks.
This is not ideal news for Sir Alex Ferguson given that Nemanja Vidic is already out for the season with a knee injury and there is a danger that he could be left without sufficient first-team central defenders in the coming weeks.
Rio Ferdinand is also set to miss the clash with Wigan because of a foot complaint, but he is expected to return for their encounter with Blackburn on New Years’ Eve barring any further aggravations.
Therefore, the semi injury crisis may lead Wigan to feel they have their best ever opportunity to take a Premier League point off Manchester United, having lost all of their previous 12 meetings.
However, Sir Alex is not totally out of options yet, as Chris Smalling can shuffle across from right-back to partner Jonny Evans at the heart of the defence.
Patrice Evra will continue at left-back and then it is between Antonio Valencia and Rafael as to who will step into the spot vacated by Smalling.
This defence is not problematically weak or inexperienced and so nothing other than a home win should be expected at Old Trafford.
Manchester United’s odds are 1/6 to beat Wigan and given that the Latics have failed to even score in seven of their last eight defeats, it is hard not to expect this result.
Meanwhile, the more profitable bet may prove the 8/11 that they beat Wigan to nil again.