The six Man Utd games Ronaldo has missed in 2021-22 – & how they fared
Cristiano Ronaldo has been a crucial player for Manchester United this season, bailing out the side on more than one occasion.
But despite his incredibly impressive physical shape and fitness, the fact is that Ronaldo is 36 years old and Manchester United must be prepared to play without him if he picks up injuries.
That was the case against Aston Villa in the third round of the FA Cup, where Ronaldo missed out with reported ‘muscular problems’ – with his manager not wanting to risk the Portuguese star in a match that could have gone to extra time.
But how have United coped in the other matches Ronaldo has not been involved with so far this season?
We’ve gone back and looked at all six of them – both those from before he arrived, and the ones he has missed since – to find out.
Leeds, 5-1 win
Opening day of the season at Old Trafford. Roses Derby victory. Raphael Varane revealed to the fans.
It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for United and it seemed as if it was going to be the first Premier League game of a brilliant season.
Bruno Fernandes scored a hat-trick while Mason Greenwood and Fred also scored with Paul Pogba providing four assists.
Without Ronaldo, the line was led by Greenwood who looked impressive flanked by Daniel James and Pogba with Fernandes coming in behind.
Putting the crown on a memorable opening day! 👑
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 6, 2021
Southampton, 1-1 draw
The next match brought United back down to reality as they played out a difficult 1-1 draw on the South Coast against Southampton.
They needed Mason Greenwood to score in the 55th minute to bail them out after Fred’s first-half own goal had seen United go in behind at the break.
Despite having 15 shots, only four of them were on target and Anthony Martial looked lacklustre leading the line.
Wolves, 1-0 win
Another difficult away match, but this time ending with all three points going back to Manchester.
This was the last game before Ronaldo returned to United and it was Mason Greenwood who was entrusted with leading the line.
He once again bailed the team out, firing in the only goal of the game on the 80th-minute mark.
Yet again United only managed a low number of shots on target, with just three efforts hitting the target at Molineux.
Greenwood’s goal against Wolves from pitchside 🤩 pic.twitter.com/tcMDV7SMDQ
— Mo 🎲 (@UTD_Mo_) September 1, 2021
West Ham, 1-0 loss
This was the first match Ronaldo missed, rested by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for this mid-week League Cup fixture.
United were slow and laborious, creating next to no clear-cut chances and slumping to a 1-0 loss against West Ham who they had just beat 2-1 in the league with Ronaldo scoring.
It was Martial leading the line instead of Ronaldo on this occasion.
Young Boys, 1-1 draw
With United safely through to the round of 16 as group winners, new manager Ralf Rangnick opted to rest Ronaldo in for this Champions League tie.
Greenwood played as the sole striker, scoring a wonderful acrobatic finish.
It ended 1-1, with both sides playing out a sloppy game.
Aston Villa, 1-0 win
It was a brutal battle which United probably didn’t deserve to win, but the fact remains they did and they stumbled through to the fourth round of the FA Cup to face Middlesbrough.
Edinson Cavani led the line alone, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood flanking him on either side.
But the three struggled to link up throughout the game, which may have been different if Ronaldo had been playing.
In the end, it took United’s oft-criticised midfielders to show them how it’s done and link up for the only goal of the game, Fred’s brilliant cross being headed in by Scott McTominay.
United will be hoping that by the time they face Villa again in the Premier League on Saturday 15 January, Ronaldo will be fit to play once more.