Marouane Fellaini has completely recovered from his back injury, according to Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur.
The 28-year-old was not involved in Belgium’s loss to Spain on Thursday after he sustained what Jose Mourinho labelled as a ‘bad’ back injury during Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Hull City.
It was widely reported that Fellaini’s back problem would rule him out of the Manchester derby on September 10.
However, according to Terreur, the Belgian has made a speedy recovery, and is now in line to make his fourth successive start of the season against Manchester City.
Marouane Fellaini has completely recovered from his back injury. #mufc
— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) September 5, 2016
Often maligned last season, Fellaini now forms the backbone of Mourinho’s side: his aggression, physicality and sheer power is exactly what the 53-year-old demands of a midfielder. And alongside Paul Pogba, the Special One is clearly determined to construct a bombastic midfield core.
Against Pep Guardiola, such strength and chutzpah in midfield amplifies in importance. The Spaniard’s system relies on perfect zonal organisation, allowing his side to seamlessly move the ball around the pitch, often to great effect against sides lacking in muscle. With Fellaini in the side, however, Man City’s new shape will have to contend with a wildly disruptive force, hellbent on destroying any etching of momentum.
That raw hostility, personified most clearly by the fuzzy headed Belgian, has exposed weaknesses in Guardiola’s system before, and could very well do so again next Saturday.