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Man Utd star Cristiano Ronaldo could miss derby alongside three key players

Manchester United could be without Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and Edinson Cavani for Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

The Red Devils have been largely inconsistent in the Premier League this year. They have picked up just nine points from the last five matches with three draws in the process.

Hence, their upcoming clash against Manchester City is a potential must-win. Otherwise, Arsenal could leapfrog them to the final Champions League spot if they beat Watford on the road.

Ahead of the game, The Express‘ Alex Turk has provided a surprise update by revealing that Ronaldo, Varane, Shaw and Cavani were not part of the 21-man squad reporting at the team’s hotel.

The exact reason for their absence has not been revealed but it is certainly a shock, considering all four players were actively involved in training ahead of the game.

It is unlikely that interim boss Ralf Rangnick may have dropped any of them. We should get more clarity on the situation when the matchday squads are announced tomorrow.

Our view:

Ronaldo has been short of confidence since the beginning of the year. The Portuguese has netted just once in the past ten games, thus leading to questions over his starting position.

His unavailability alongside Cavani could pave the way for Marcus Rashford to lead the line. The England star has been short of confidence, but has excelled in recent derbies.

Rashford has contributed a goal and an assist in the last two league meetings at the Etihad Stadium where United have been victorious. He may have the chance to redeem himself.

Meanwhile, Alex Telles could cover up for Shaw at left-back, but Varane’s absence would be a big blow, considering he has started to come into his own after an injury-plagued start to his United career.

Harry Maguire could be reinstated into central defence alongside Victor Lindelof if the Frenchman is out. This is worrying, given Maguire’s positional errors this season.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com.