Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao is in “optimal condition,” according to Colombia coach José Pekerman as the player gets ready return to action against Arsenal next weekend. The Colombia international has struggled with life at Old Trafford since joining in September due to a series of niggling injuries. As Falcao readies his return to Premier League match action, Pekerman has rubbished claims that the player is past his best and has claimed the Premier League is set to see the forward at his best.
Pekerman watched his side defeat USA 2-1 in London on Friday and told UK newspaper the Daily Mail that Falcao was over the serious knee injury he suffered before the World Cup and that United should hold no fears with regards to the players fitness. “There is no doubt he is in optimal condition,” Pekerman said. “He’s recovered very successfully. He done everything perfectly. This is a small muscular injury, it is different to the knee injury before the World Cup. He’s in a good condition and could be ready for Arsenal. He hasn’t even started yet. He will be one of the best players Manchester United have had and will break a lot of records in England.”
Pekerman’s comments will be music to the ears of United fans, who have been waiting to see the best from the player who is on loan from Ligue 1 club, Monaco. Although Falcao has been bright in his cameo appearances so far, he has netted just one goal and has yet to play a full game for the Red Devils.
Falcao’s absence and a weak defense have seen United struggle to take charge of matches. Despite starting brightly in a number of matches, United has been pegged back after the 60-minute mark. As a result coach Louis van Gaal has changed United’s formation of late, opting for one out-and-out center forward with an attacking midfield in support of the player. This has meant United has looked less fluid in attack and scored fewer goals, but the side has also shipped in fewer goals in recent weeks.
United meets an Arsenal side also suffering from disappointing form. Gunners boss Arsène Wenger is presiding over his worst start to a season as Arsenal manager and his side currently sits in 6th place with 17 points, just one point ahead of next weekend’s opponent. Wenger has already all but conceded the title after he said last week that he could not see any side catching favorite Chelsea. That means United and Arsenal, previously title rivals for a number of consecutive campaigns, will be battling it out for a top four finish.
The fact Falcao is in “optimal condition” will give van Gaal a huge boost when he names his side to take the field at the Emirates, where United will come face-t0-face with Danny Welbeck, one of many players to leave Old Trafford in the summer. Although neither side is in contention to win the title, Arsenal and United cannot afford to lose at this stage of the season.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd
Photo Courtesy of The Sport Review – License