Alan Smith believes Manchester United's alleged malaise over the last few weeks can justifiably be blamed on their chronic injury issues this season.
Sir Alex Ferguson's depleted Manchester United squad have toiled under the heavy weight of injury concerns throughout the season, and it has evidently played havoc with the continuity of the side.
While every side in the Premier League inevitably have to negotiate the perennial injury problems throughout a season, Manchester United have rarely, if ever, been free from a spate of concerns regarding key personnel.
Manchester United's bright start to the season was strongly founded on the central midfield pairing of Anderson and the hugely impressive Tom Cleverley and yet the precocious young duo have rarely featured since September. Likewise the loss of Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher for the season has deprived Ferguson of two of his most trusted performers.
Smith believes Manchester United are suffering where perhaps Manchester City are not, in that Roberto Mancini has been able to select a relatively settled side.
"Injuries have briefly been mentioned and Manchester United can justifiably use this issue as mitigation." Smith told the Daily Telegraph.
"Just look at the back four picked for the Blackburn game on Wednesday night. A winger and a midfielder, in Antonio Valencia and Carrick, were forced to fill in for several crocked players.
"At a club with Manchester United's resources, that qualifies as very unusual. In contrast, take a look across town and the number of injuries Manchester City have suffered. Very few indeed.
"Roberto Mancini has enjoyed the luxury of a settled central defence while being able to consistently select his main men elsewhere. Of course, there are no guarantees this will continue for the rest of the season.
"But in the race for the Premier League title City have certainly been the more fortunate with injuries (than Manchester United) so far."
Manchester United's current suffering in terms of their saturated treatment room was hinted at during Federico Macheda's unveiling at QPR.
"Manchester United are struggling because half the squad is injured." The Old Trafford youngster said. "It is not a good moment for them."