10 Injury Disappointments for the Premier League Opener
Hotly tipped Premier League contenders Manchester United were rocked this week following the news that the £27 million summer signing, teenage left-back Luke Shaw, will miss the first month of the club's first season under Louis van Gaal.
Despite the close-season break offering players a chance to rest and recuperate following a rigorous campaign, many still return having suffered injuries, either from the previous term or in pre-season training.
With the 2014/15 Premier League commencing this weekend, here are 10 of the biggest injury disappointments—in no particular order—for the opening round of fixtures.
Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
Former Southampton left-back Shaw has already faced allegations of poor fitness in his first months under Dutch manager Van Gaal.
Now the 19-year-old must sit and watch his new teammates from the bitter comfort of the Old Trafford treatment room; Daniel Taylor of The Guardian writes that Shaw "could miss United's first four games."
The Red Devils play Garry Monk's Swansea City in the opening fixture of the season on Saturday, and United fans will be disappointed to be missing the chance to see their new rising star in domestic action for the first time.
In Shaw's stead, Van Gaal could well opt for promising pre-season star Ashley Young, who is enjoying a resurgence under new management.
Andy Carroll (West Ham United)
This one comes as no surprise.
West Ham United forward Andy Carroll has spent a considerable portion of his tenure with the London club with various injuries.
So far, in two seasons at the Boleyn Ground, the hulking Geordie has made just 39 Premier League appearances—as the Hammers' £15 million first-team focal point, this is not enough.
Referencing Carroll's myriad injuries and West Ham's poor 2013/14 form, the 65-year-old said (h/t The Telegraph): "Had we known what we know now we wouldn't have signed the player."
A clear disappointment at this juncture in his West Ham career, this latest lay-off is a hammer blow to Carroll and manager Sam Allardyce.
Adam Lallana (Liverpool)
Following a lengthy pursuit, England midfielder Adam Lallana became Liverpool's most expensive acquisition of the summer, joining from the much-plundered Southampton in a £25 million deal on a long-term contract.
After a miserable jaunt with the Three Lions at this summer's World Cup, the playmaker joined up with Brendan Rodgers' squad at their pre-season training camp in the USA.
Disappointingly, the 26-year-old is yet to feature for the Reds after suffering lateral collateral ligament damage in training.
The Liverpool manager stressed the importance of patience regarding Lallana's recovery, per LiverpoolFC.com:
We're hopeful that he'll come back fairly quickly, but there's no rush. He's a fantastic player, we just need to get him back fit and well because it's a long season.
The midfielder returned to training on Thursday but is still set to miss out against his old club on Sunday—the Anfield faithful will be disappointed, with Lallana set for a key role this season.
Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke endured a torrid sophomore campaign in claret and blue, scoring 10 goals in 26 Premier League appearances—the Belgian netted almost twice that amount the previous season.
Adding to this dread, the Villans' No. 20 tore his left Achilles in an April training session, initially being ruled out for eight months—most regrettably, Benteke missed the Red Devils' World Cup campaign.
The 23-year-old remains the premier attacking option in Paul Lambert's squad, and as such, this continued lay-off is hugely disappointing.
Neil Moxley of The Daily Mirror writes that "Benteke is pushing the Villans' manager and, if things go to plan, he may miss just three Premier League matches."
Despite this good news, Villa play Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and will sorely miss Benteke's cutting edge.
Lazar Markovic (Liverpool)
Another costly Reds signing set to miss the opening fixture against Southampton, Serbian forward Lazar Markovic has suffered from a tendon problem in recent weeks.
Unlike Lallana, the 20-year-old former Benfica man gave Reds fans a glimpse of his abilities in pre-season, featuring in the opening bout of the club's tour of the USA, a 1-0 victory over Olympiacos.
Markovic may not assume as prominent a role as Lallana in the immediate future, but the pacey wide man could be a disappointing absentee at Anfield on Sunday.
Speaking to journalists following his side's 4-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund on Sunday (h/t the Daily Mail), Rodgers suggested that the Serb has a chance of appearing against the Saints:
He had a slight problem with his tendon, but he's up to speed. He's working with our sports science team, he's looking very strong and if he just misses out, he certainly should be available for the next game.
The latter option remains the more plausible, with Markovic likely to debut from the substitutes' bench against Manchester City the following weekend.
Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City)
Manchester City aren't exactly devoid of attacking options, with Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko three world-class centre-forwards, but the loss of Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo to a broken foot, per BBC Sport, will be a great loss to the Citizens.
At points in his maiden Premier League season, Negredo played like Alan Shearer-reincarnate, displaying his abilities as a finisher of the highest order.
Now, more settled in his surroundings, the 28-year-old could be facing a seminal season in the No. 9 shirt, but City fans will have to be patient with a return.
The Spaniard used his Instagram account to express his disappointment, writing: "I want to let you know that it's going to be hard for the next few months. [But] I will be back stronger than ever."
Words of a determined goalscorer, it is a disappointment that Negredo cannot be utilised from City's opening fixture, against Newcastle United on Sunday.
Jay Rodriguez (Southampton)
England forward Jay Rodriguez was enjoying a glorious Premier League campaign when he suffered a cruel, long-term injury in action for Southampton against Manchester City last season.
The 25-year-old scored 15 goals in 33 league appearances for the Saints before rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament, per BBC Sport.
Southampton director Les Reed spoke on the former Burnley man's injury, proffering: "Everything will be done to deliver a speedy recovery."
Unfortunately, this injury meant Rodriguez missed out on England's World Cup participation, and he will also be absent from the opening of the new Premier League season.
The forward has targeted a December return in order to pit his talents against former teammates, with Burnley entertaining the Saints mid-way through the month, according to Sky Sports.
Following a summer of disappointments, Southampton fans will deeply regret Rodriguez's injury in the side's trip to Anfield to test Liverpool on Sunday.
Joleon Lescott (West Bromwich Albion)
Joining West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer from Premier League champions Manchester City this season, England defender Joleon Lescott was considered one of the transfer coups of the summer.
However, a return to Midlands football for the 31-year-old has been nothing but miserable so far.
The centre-back was reportedly unsettled just 28 days into his West Brom career, with the Darren Lewis of The Mirror claiming: "West Brom convinced Lescott he would not be stuck in a fresh battle against the drop as they intended to sign more exciting new players."
To add injury to insult, Lescott faces a lay-off following a knee problem sustained in a pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest, per the Birmingham Mail.
The Baggies newcomer will feature prominently upon his return, but a home opener against Sunderland should, disappointingly, come too soon for Lescott.
Davide Santon (Newcastle United)
Newcastle United will begin the season without the hugely promising young full-back, Davide Santon.
The Magpies host Manchester City on Sunday, but the Italian will be missing from the field, having suffered a knee injury, per the Sunderland Echo.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew bemoaned the loss of Santon, telling the Echo: "He’s an important player for us, and we'll miss him, but the most important thing is getting him right."
The 23-year-old, who can play both left-back and right-back, is eyeing a September return, according to Tyne & Wear publication The Chronicle.
Massadio Haidara, Paul Dummett and Ryan Taylor are being considered as cover for the former Inter man.
With by far the worst defensive record of the Premier League's top half last season—conceding 59 goals—Pardew will be disappointed to be unable to field his first-choice back four from the off.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
There is more than a shade of Groundhog Day in this entry, with Arsenal forward Theo Walcott once more recovering on the treatment bench.
The England man ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against rivals Spurs in January, missing the second half of the 2013/14 Premier League season.
Like Rodriguez, Walcott's injury seriously weakened England's striking options for the World Cup, with the Three Lions as disappointed as the Gunners with the wide man's lay-off.
The 25-year-old posted a graphic photograph of his injury via his Twitter account (h/t The Telegraph), underlining the damage a major ACL problem can cause.
The former Southampton man will miss Arsenal's opener against Crystal Palace, and his loss will be a disappointed to Gunners fans.
Who is your club's most disappointing injury for the Premier League season opener? Let us know in the comments below.