Bastian Schweinsteiger handed three-match ban

Manchester United defender Bastian Schweinsteiger will serve a three-game ban after his altercation with West Ham United defender Winston Reid last Saturday at Old Trafford, with immediate effect.

The German defender will miss three of The Red Devils upcoming Premier League fixtures, after the former Bayern Munich man accepted the FA's charge of violent conduct with footage that showed Schweinsteiger making contact with the New Zealander, via what appeared to be a forearm to the face.

German will miss key games

The ban means the 30-year-old will miss this Saturday evening's game at Bournemouth, as well as Norwich City's visit to Old Trafford the following weekend. His loss may be most keenly felt on Boxing Day, as The Red Devils travel to the Britannia Stadium to face an in-form Stoke City, who toppled rivals Manchester City this past weekend.

Schweinsteiger's absence leaves Louis van Gaal hoping Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin returns from injury in time for the trip to Dean Court this weekend after the midfielder missed United's Champions League defeat to Wolfsburg in Germany, this past Tuesday.  

Pressure now on Carrick to deliver

Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger have begun to form a formidable partnership in the middle of the park for United, but now with a vital cog missing until after Christmas, Michael Carrick will now have to slot into the United engine room.

Carrick has struggled for form and fitness of late, but had been a key player for Van Gaal, with the Englishman's introduction on the hour, or indeed his withdrawal, as the Dutchman tried to balance his side in the early stages of the campaign. 

With Manchester United in the midst of a defensive injury crisis, Bastain Schweinsteiger's ban was the last thing Louis van Gaal would have wanted. Despite a relatively favourable run of games - bar a meeting with Mark Hughes' buoyant Potters - the German's absence may prove costly in the run up to Christmas.