Manchester United are reportedly waiting for an update on Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness as they prepare to face Aston Villa for the second time in five days. The legendary forward, who is the Red Devils’ top scorer this season, is understood to have suffered a fresh injury this week.
Ronaldo missed Monday’s 1-0 FA Cup victory over Villa with a hip injury but apparently now has a separate issue.
According to the Sun, the striker left Thursday’s training session early with a thigh problem. He is now considered a ‘doubt’ for the fixture.
That will leave Ralf Rangnick scrambling to alternate his plans given that Ronaldo was almost certain to start against Steven Gerrard’s side.
With that in mind, Express Sport picks a team that Rangnick might choose.
Goalkeeper: De Gea
David De Gea might have thought his United career was over after missing the crucial penalty in the Europa League final defeat by Villarreal.
At the time, Dean Henderson was preferred by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for Premier League matches and De Gea had seen little domestic action.
However, Henderson’s back injury in the summer allowed a route back into the team for the 31-year-old.
He has been one of the club’s best performers this season, keeping six clean sheets in 25 appearances. It is now Henderson who faces an uncertain future.
Midfielders: Fred and Matic
Another player set to miss out after collecting five Premier League yellow cards is Scott McTominay.
The Scotland international has been excellent under Rangnick with his energy perfect for the interim boss’ pressing style.
Instead, Nemanja Matic will surely come in as an almost like-for-like replacement alongside Fred.
That would be a further blow to Donny van de Beek, who might hope to start with McTominay absent.
Attackers: Greenwood, Fernandes, Cavani, Rashford
Rangnick is yet to fall upon the best formula of players to make up his front four.
Express Sport has gone with a quartet of stars who could either line up in a 4-2-2-2 or a 4-2-3-1.
Bruno Fernandes might be given a bit more freedom to express if Ronaldo does miss out. He could either sit in a wider role behind two strikers, or as the attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1.
Either Mason Greenwood or Marcus Rashford could play as wingers or through the middle with Cavani.
Ronaldo will be a big miss, and his potential absence means that one of his fellow attackers will need to step up at Villa Park.