Cristiano Ronaldo is set to start on the bench for Manchester United’s opening Premier League fixture of the 2022-23 season against Brighton.
Erik ten Hag takes charge of the Red Devils in a competitive match for the first time on Sunday afternoon at Old Trafford.
And the Dutch coach, who has already made a positive impact on his squad throughout pre-season, has already made one huge call regarding the club’s star player.
According to The Sun’s Neil CustisRonaldo will be named among the substitutes this weekend.
Ten Hag will instead opt for the front three who have impressed as a unit this summer: Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Ronaldo reportedly still wants to leave United before the transfer window closes, although a lack of interest from other clubs may mean the 37-year-old has little choice but to stay at the Theater of Dreams.
Man Utd’s likely XI for the start of the 2022-23 season
Now that we know what United’s front three will look like for the start of the new season, let’s have a go at predicting the rest of the XI.
Premier League 22/23 Game week 1: Fixtures, predictions, odds, table & everything you need to know
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
A pretty safe bet this one, especially now that Dean Henderson has been loaned to Nottingham Forest.
David de Gea is unlikely to have his place taken by 36-year-old Tom Heaton.
Right-back: Diogo Dalot
Diogo Dalot has started most of United’s pre-season games while Ten Hag is reportedly not Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s biggest fan.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire has his critics but Ten Hag has allowed the English centre-back to keep the captain’s armband this season. Therefore, it would be a surprise if the 29-year-old isn’t in United’s starting line-up for the Brighton game.
Centre-back: Lisandro Martinez
Lisandro Martinez impressed during his first appearance for Manchester United against Rayo Vallecano last weekend. The Argentine centre-back, a £46 million signing from Ajax, also played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Wrexham days earlier. Ten Hag may choose to start Raphael Varane or Victor Lindelof instead, but don’t be surprised if Martinez is the defender Ten Hag picks to partner Maguire this weekend.
Left-back: Luke Shaw
Tyrell Malacia is still settling in at Old Trafford following his summer move from Feyenoord, so expect Luke Shaw to be given the nod against Brighton.
Central midfield: Fred
Fred was sent off after receiving two yellow cards on his previous outing for United against Atletico Madrid last weekend, but that won’t prevent the Brazilian from starting on the opening weekend of the new season.
Central midfield: Christian Eriksen
United fans are excited to see what Christian Eriksen can give to the team this season. Selecting the Dane over the more defensively-minded Scott McTominay would be a decision welcomed by large sections of the Old Trafford faithful.
Attacking midfield: Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes blew hot and cold last season but United fans have seen the best of the Portuguese maestro since his move from Sporting Lisbon in 2020 and know he’s a world-class operator on his day.
Right-wing: Jadon Sancho
Entering his second season at Man Utd, Jadon Sancho will be keen to cement his status as one of the Premier League’s best players this term.
Left wing: Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford has hit the ground running this season. He knows that better than anyone. Scoring against Brighton would be the perfect way to announce that he’s back.
Centre-forward: Anthony Martial
Very impressive in pre-season, nobody would have predicted a few months ago that Anthony Martial would be leading the line for United in their opening game of the 2022-23 campaign. This is his big chance to prove that he deserves to wear the club’s No. 9 shirts.
And here’s what the team looks like on paper:
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