Varane’s return to the side had brought some stability in defence in the previous two matches but the Frenchman has now picked up a hamstring injury and will remain on the sidelines for around a month.
The official statement read: “Manchester United have provided further information on the extent of the injury suffered by Raphael Varane during Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Atalanta in the Champions League.
“The club confirms that Raphael sustained a hamstring injury, which is expected to keep him out of action for around a month.”
Varane will undoubtedly be a major miss for Manchester United but Solskjaer now has to make plans without his talisman and there are two ways the manager can set up his backline on Saturday.
Raphael Varane injury: Alex Telles as the left-wing back?
Victor Lindelof missed the Atalanta game due to a knock and Solskjaer is still not sure if he will be fit in time or not.
Hopefully, the Swede should be available for selection but the last thing Ole will want is to put a less than 100% fit defender against a team like Manchester City.
If Solskjaer does not want to take the risk of using an under par defender on Saturday then Luke Shaw will slot in as third central defender alongside Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly. This would mean that Alex Telles will get a rare start as the left wing-back.
🗣️ — Alex Telles:
— United Journal (@theutdjournal) October 30, 2021
Ideally, Solskjaer will not want to use Telles in the first XI since the full-back has played very little football this season but if Raphael Varane and Lindelof are both missing then the manager will have no other option but to bring in Alex Telles.
Or maybe he will shift to his usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
A central defensive trio of Maguire, Bailly and Lindelof?
The other option is obviously the most probable one with Maguire, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in a three-man central defence.
Eric Bailly appreciation post 👏 pic.twitter.com/coKzA2lls5
— Morgan (@utdscope) November 3, 2021
A piece of early team news from Manchester United had suggested that Lindelof should be fit to play on Saturday which is why we think Raphael Varane will be the only major absentee in defence.
The early team news has suggested: “Hopefully, Lindelof will be fit in time – and he has been named in the Sweden squad for their upcoming internationals.”
The absence of Raphael Varane can never be fulfilled but Eric Bailly did a stellar job against Atalanta in midweek and Solskjaer will be hoping that he can pull off the same sort of performance this weekend at Old Trafford.