Manchester United are back in Premier League action this weekend following the 2-0 win at Villarreal earlier this week. The victorious trip to Spain sealed United’s passage to the next round of the Champions League and focus will now be on turning their domestic form around.
The embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Watford turned out to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s final game in charge of the side, with Michael Carrick now assuming temporary responsibility of the team.
Carrick handed starts to both Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho in Villarreal but only the latter keeps his place, with the former United midfielder making a host of changes.
Eric Bailly replaces the suspended Harry Maguire, Alex Telles is in for Luke Shaw whilst a controversial decision has been made further up the pitch.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the decisive goal at Villarreal with 12 minutes remaining, has been left out of the side.
Confirmed Manchester United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Telles; Matic, McTominay, Fred, Fernandes; Sancho, Rashford
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 28, 2021
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SN’s verdict on today’s team and Ronaldo’s exclusion…
Some of the changes made by Carrick have been forced, with the turnover in defence largely owing to suspensions and injuries. Fred was flagged as a doubt ahead of the game but has been passed fit.
Ronaldo’s exclusion will dominate headlines and the only plausible explanation is that Carrick intends to implement a high-pressing system, where Rashford and Sancho would be able to put pressure on Chelsea’s defenders.
Furthermore, there’s not much rest between games in the infamous Christmas frenzy and that could be another reason as to why he has been left out.