It would be fair to say that Manchester United have experienced their fair share of defensive worries over the past few weeks and that has undoubtedly contributed to their indifferent start to the new campaign.
Unfortunately, the situation does not seem to be easing, with Phil Jones and Jonny Evans continuing to suffer with the problems that have prevented them from playing this term.
Sir Alex Ferguson has seen his options in defence severely limited this term and has even been forced to rely on the likes of Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia to fill in when the crisis reached its peak. Fortunately, he now has Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both available, although the duo have not been without their problems in the past and it remains to be seen whether they'll be able to withstand the rigor of the next few weeks.
There was plenty of hope that both Evans and Jones would make comebacks and at least provide competition. However, even after he recovered from the back problem that kept him out of the opening games, Jones now looks set to miss the next couple of months after incurring a knee injury and having surgery.
It could be the fitness of Evans that worries Ferguson the most though. After starting for Northern Ireland at the weekend, the 25-year-old admitted that the game was not without problems and he had to play through the pain barrier.
He said, "I felt my ankle after about five minutes. It was the same one I had surgery on in the summer but I got a heavier strap put on it and I was able to carry on for the second half. I was disappointed I felt pain so quickly in the game but if I’m being honest, I always expected I would feel a little pain – just not that early."