Manchester United will probably be without Cristiano Ronaldo again for tomorrow’s crucial Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese legend has not trained with the group at all this week as he attempts to recover from a hip flexor problem that saw him miss the Red Devils’ last game against Manchester City.
The good news for United is that Edinson Cavani has trained all week and should be available to take Ronaldo’s place spearheading the attack.
The Uruguayan has missed the last five Premier League games with a groin strain. Manager Ralf Rangnick expected him to have recovered in time for the City game but the player said he did not feel ready.
Whilst under normal circumstances the 35 year old would be eased back into the side by getting minutes off the bench, needs must when the devil drives and we expect him to be thrown straight into the starting line-up.
He will probably be flanked by the in-form pair of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga in the front three of a 4-3-3 formation.
In midfield, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are likely to play ahead of Scott McTominay. Fred was poor against City and with Fernandes and Pogba back in midfield after being employed as twin false 9’s, somebody has to make way.
There may also be an argument for starting Nemanja Matic in place of McTominay, as the latter also struggled in the derby game whilst the former was excellent last time out. However, Rangnick seems to be a big fan of the Scotsman and we expect him to keep him in the side.
In defence, Raphael Varane has trained since Tuesday after a positive Covid-19 test saw him miss last week’s game. He will almost certainly start, with Harry Maguire the most likely to give way.
Maguire’s form has been poor all season and while not everyone is convinced about Victor Lindelof, he is almost certainly the lesser of two evils at the moment.
It could be all change in the full back department after the City game saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles struggle.
Telles did at least do quite well going forward but was part of a chaotic defence that leaked four goals, whereas Wan-Bissaka looked out of his depth both offensively and defensively.
Luke Shaw will return at left back, if he has recovered in time from his own positive Covid test, and Diogo Dalot should be reinstated at right back.
With David de Gea set to continue in goal, here is our predicted starting line-up for tomorrow’s 5.30pm kick-off: