Michael Carrick has benched Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Ronaldo scored United’s opener in the 2-0 win over Villarreal on Tuesday but has made way for the match against the Premier League leaders.
In all competitions, Ronaldo has scored just one goal in 15 appearances against Chelsea, doing so in the 2008 Champions League final. The Blues are the side he has faced the most without scoring in top-flight football (10 games).
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who scored his first goal for the club on Tuesday, have instead been selected up top, with Bruno Fernandes seemingly spearheading a midfield diamond for United, whose 4-1 defeat at Watford last week signalled the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time as manager.
Ralf Rangnick is expected to be announced as the club’s interim manager soon, but Carrick was always set to take charge on Sunday.
Behind the front three, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Fred were named in midfield, with Eric Bailly replacing the suspended Harry Maguire in defence and Alex Telles playing at left-back. Mason Greenwood was back on the bench after missing the defeat to Watford due to contracting COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel was able to welcome back Timo Werner into his starting XI, with Romelu Lukaku – who has only scored in one match against United in his career, back in 2013 – was also available after his injury lay-off, though only deemed fit enough for the bench.
League leaders Chelsea have conceded just four goals in their 12 Premier League games this season. Only the Blues themselves (three in 2004-05) have shipped fewer at this stage of an English top-flight campaign, though N’Golo Kante was not available after suffering an injury in the midweek win over Juventus.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek was chosen to partner Jorginho in midfield, with Marcos Alonso replacing the injured Ben Chilwell.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 28, 2021