SHAW BREAK IS BLOW TO OUR CHANCES.
Byline: MIKE WHALLEY
LOUIS VAN GAAL fears that Manchester United's title challenge could be derailed by Luke Shaw's injury.
United are bidding to cement their position at the top of the table with a fourth straight league win when they visit Arsenal today.
But Van Gaal worries that the odds are loaded against his team after Shaw's horrific double leg break.
The left-back, 19, was ruled out for at least six months after the injury against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on September 15. And Van Gaal doesn't feel he has a like-for-like replacement.
He has tried four players at left-back - Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian - in four matches since Shaw (right) was injured.
The former Holland boss says that even top teams can only win the title with a little luck - and he does not feel United have fortune in their favour. He said: "We lost Luke and that is a big blow. I said that this would be the year of Luke Shaw. His is the only position which we don't have a double option. So the circumstances are not so good for us.
"Four people have played in that position since Shaw's injury. And we won every game, but in my opinion, we don't have a good substitute for Luke Shaw with the same qualities. So it's a big blow."
Van Gaal believes today's opponents are the best team in the Premier League - but can't understand how they have gone 11 years without winning the title.
Arsene Wenger last came top with his Invincibles of 2003-04. Van Gaal said: "I think Arsenal are one of the best teams, maybe the best, in the league. Nevertheless, until now, they haven't won so much."
Wenger made just one signing during the summer, goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea, while Van Gaal brought in six players. The United boss said he could never imagine having such a quiet transfer window as his Arsenal counterpart.
He said: "I change things around every year because you always have players who don't bring what you expected from them."
Striker Anthony Martial, 19, will be looking to maintain a start that has seen him score four goals in six games since his move from Monaco.
But Van Gaal said: "To do it all season long is very difficult. When he does that, I shall say 'Yes, it's fantastic.'"