As Cristiano Ronaldo eyes a starting role for his second Manchester United debut, let’s look at four potential line ups the Red Devils could deploy.
12 years on from his Old Trafford farewell, Cristiano Ronaldo is back and ready for his second Manchester United debut.
The Portuguese ace reported to the club’s training base in Carrington on Tuesday for the first time since his blockbuster return. He has spent the week training with his new teammates and aims to start in Saturday’s Premier League match against Newcastle.
“Of course, I will be nervous on Saturday, but I am more mature. I am experienced, I will be prepared. I am going to pressure Ole to start in the XI,” he told former United teammate Wes Brown in an interview for MUTV.
Manchester United Team News
Marcus Rashford is the only confirmed injury absentee with a shoulder problem so far. Fred is also out at the moment as one of the eight Brazilian Premier League players banned for this weekend by FIFA.
Jadon Sancho, Scott McTominay and Alex Telles all returned to training this week.
Injured: Marcus Rashford.
Doubtful: Dean Henderson, Scott McTominay, Alex Telles, Jadon Sancho.
How could they line up if Ronaldo starts?
It’s safe to expect David de Gea will start in goal. Joining the Red Devils No.1 at the back should be Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw occupy the full-back spots. Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are almost guaranteed starters, leaving a potential four spots up for grabs in the lineup.
Solskjaer has used this formation for each of United’s three Premier League games so far. In this lineup, Ronaldo would start as a lone forward with some quality support from Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood.
As Fred is currently suspended, Donny van de Beek could get a rare start.
While Solskjaer stopped using a back three last season, the flexibility of this formation remains a good option. Ronaldo, of course, regularly had an attacking partner at Juventus and may favor the same here.
With Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Greenwood available, Ole has plenty of options for a CR7 partner.
Another option is to take advantage of Sancho and Greenwood’s pace down the flanks. Solskjaer could use the youngsters alongside the clinical Ronaldo, while Fernandes and Pogba supply the ball from the middle.
4-4-2 diamond formation
Solskjaer has also used this formation occasionally, and it does present another way for Ronaldo to play with a partner.