Manchester United have confirmed defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed the 1-1 Premier League draw with Arsenal on Monday night after recently contracting tonsillitis.
Wan-Bissaka had previously played every minute for United in the Premier League since his £45m summer transfer from boyhood club Crystal Palace, and his absence wasn’t actually confirmed until the day of the game.
The 21-year-old wasn’t listed among the doubts in the build-up – as it happened both Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford recovered enough to feature – and it only became clear that he wouldn’t play against the Gunners when he was not seen with the squad on Monday afternoon.
Wan-Bissaka’s enforced absence pushed United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer into a defensive reshuffle, with Axel Tuanzebe surprisingly operating at left-back.
When the team was announced prior to kick-off, it had been expected that club captain Ashley Young would continue to play on the left as has been the case in Luke Shaw’s ongoing absence over the last few weeks. Instead, Young moved over to the right and Tuanzebe, who is a centre-back by trade but has been known to fill in at right-back, went to the left.
Tuanzebe generally impressed in what was a second consecutive senior start after previously captaining the side against home-town club Rochdale in the EFL Cup last week, although it was unfortunately his sloppy mistake that directly led to Arsenal’s equaliser.
Whether Wan-Bissaka will recover from his throat infection in time to feature against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday evening remains to be seen. Chances are he will be given extra time to recover after being rested on matchday one last month against FC Astana.
United are expecting to have Shaw back from injury before the October international break, which will also relieve growing pressure on a paper-thin squad.