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The Manchester United manager, for the first time during his tenure, will not be able to call upon Diogo Dalot’s services on the banks of the Thames. He will miss the trip to Craven Cottage after picking up his fifth booking of the season during the 3-1 defeat at Villa Park.

It will mark the second Premier League game running that United have been without a member of their Portuguese contingent, after Bruno Fernandes was absent for the clash with Unai Emery’s side. Like Dalot, he missed out after picking up his own fifth booking of the season in the win over West Ham United a week earlier.

Like Fernandes had been up until Sunday, Dalot has been an ever-present figure for United this season, starting every single game in all competitions. He has become one of the first names on the teamsheet and has gone from strength-to-strength under Ten Hag’s management.

Therefore, his absence against Fulham is bound to be felt in more ways than one. He has made the right-back spot his own this term, both through a series of eye-catching performances and the fact he has had no competition pushing him from the reserve trench.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has flopped since joining United from Crystal Palace in 2019, has failed to offer Dalot any kind of competition, earning a paltry four minutes worth of competitive football since Ten Hag took up residence in the Old Trafford managerial hot seat. The Dutchman evidently does not rate the right-back and that has been highlighted through his lack of opportunities this season, even before he got injured.

In normal circumstances, Wan-Bissaka, had he been in and around the team more, storing minutes under his belt perhaps via the Europa League, would have been the prime candidate to deputise for Dalot against Marco Silva’s side this weekend. However, although Ten Hag did throw Donny van de Beek back into the team from pretty much nowhere for the recent clashes with Real Sociedad and Villa, there is next to no chance of Wan-Bissaka getting the same treatment.

That means that United are going to have to approach the clash with Fulham by playing another defender at right-back. Victor Lindelof has played there in the past, but with him currently filling in for the injured Raphael Varane at centre-back, Tyrell Malacia has suddenly become the alternative option.

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