Ronaldo out? Manchester United dealt severe blow as four first team players set to miss the Manchester Derby
Four senior players are set to miss Manchester United’s trip across the city to take on Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, according to reports.
These include striking pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, both of whom were not with the 21 man squad that travelled to the hotel ahead of the clash with Pep Guardiola’s side.
Cristiano Ronaldo not with the #mufc squad tonight. Neither was Edinson Cavani, unsurprisingly. The usual 21 players (three goalkeepers) have assembled.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) March 5, 2022
Manager Ralf Rangnick had previously suggested that Cavani, who had missed the last five games with a groin injury, would be fit to play in the derby, but it seems as though that has not been proved true, and the Uruguayan’s stuttering season continues.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, has also been ruled out through injury, leaving Marcus Rashford as the only recognised striker in the squad. Bruno Fernandes could also play as a false 9 if required.
Additionally, the Manchester Evening News report that ‘Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw were also not accounted for when the squad arrived at their pre-match base on Saturday evening’.
Should this prove to be the case, it would mean four key absentees for Rangnick to deal with. Combined with Harry Maguire’s failure to get out of the rut of form he finds himself in, it hardly has the hallmarks of a recipe for success against the current champions of England.
Who needs the win?
The game is massive for both sides. Should Manchester City fail to win, they will increase the pressure on themselves and allow Liverpool the opportunity to move level with them on points should the Reds win their game in hand, throwing away what was once a nine-point lead in the process.
Manchester United, meanwhile, could slip down to fifth should they lose and Arsenal win, out of the vaunted Champions League spot for next season. Worse yet, the Gunners would have three games in hand on the Red Devils, making them nailed on favourites to finish in that position.
Neither side can afford anything but a win.