Lisandro Martinez
Lisandro Martinez is set to be out until April after injuring his right knee in Manchester United's win over West Ham United. Angelika Warmuth/Reuters

Manchester United centre-back, Lisandro Martinez, faces further time on the sidelines this season after picking up a knee injury in his side's 3-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday.

The Argentinian defender went down in the second half of the game after attempting to shield the ball away from West Ham's Vladimir Coufal and out for a goal-kick.

However, the legs of the two players tangled, and Martinez's right knee appeared to be affected. After staying down initially, Martinez did play on for a short period but soon realised that something was not right with his knee and was substituted off.

On Monday, Manchester United released a statement confirming that Martinez had "sustained an injury to the medial collateral ligament in his knee" and is set to miss "at least eight weeks."

The one upside for Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is that his centre-back will not have to undergo any surgery for the injury and he could play a part in the season's latter stages.

Nevertheless, the injury is still a massive blow to both Martinez and Manchester United as the last 10 months have seen him miss plenty of football. Last April, he suffered a fractured metatarsal in his foot during a Europa League tie with Sevilla, which ruled him out for the rest of last season.

Martinez was able to come back into the starting line-up at the start of this season but aggravated the same foot issue in a defeat to Arsenal last September. Despite featuring in his side's following two matches, it was eventually decided that he would need to spend an extended period on the sidelines in order to fully recuperate.

The Argentinian returned to action last month in Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. He then started the club's next three games, with all being wins, but now ten Hag will have to do without his presence in defence again.

The timeline of Martinez's expected return means he is likely to miss Manchester United's next 10 matches, including Premier League showdowns with Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Ten Hag will be hoping that he can have Martinez available for his side's final five league games of the season, as they will face tough clashes against Newcastle United, Arsenal and Brighton.

Manchester United have struggled in Martinez's absence, as his ability to play out from the defence and progress the ball further up the pitch is not replicated to the same level by the club's other centre-backs.

Raphael Varane, despite his defensive qualities, is not viewed as a ball-playing defender, whilst Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelöf and Jonny Evans are not able to possess the same level of passing precision that Martinez demonstrates.

However, Maguire and Evans have had some encouraging performances this season and ten Hag will need them to be in good form over the next couple of months. There is also the chance that ten Hag will deploy left-back Luke Shaw as a centre-back, having done so in the past.

Having worked with ten Hag at Ajax, Martinez clearly understands what his manager demands in terms of both standards and playing style. This is in contrast to ten Hag's other signings who he has a previous working relationship with, such as Antony and Andre Onana, as both have failed to justify big-money moves to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils will begin its run of games without Martinez when they take on Aston Villa this Sunday at Villa Park. Unai Emery's side are having a brilliant campaign as they currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League table, eight points and two places above ten Hag's side.

Last season's fixture saw Aston Villa comfortably come out on top in a 3-1 victory so Manchester United will be aware of the task ahead of them on the weekend.

Manchester United did manage to beat Aston Villa in this season's first encounter between the sides as they came from 2-0 down at the break to win 3-2 on Boxing Day at Old Trafford.

If ten Hag's side have aspirations of finishing in the UEFA Champions League spots come the end of the season, they need to put a long-winning run together and directly take points off of teams around them in the table.