The 3 biggest winners and losers for Man Utd this season so far - including Cristiano Ronaldo
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Manchester United are awaiting the return of competitive club football due to the ongoing 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The tournament will finish on 18 December with the Red Devils set to play Burnley in the fourth round of the League Cup just three days later.
Erik ten Hag’s side had a rocky start to their Premier League campaign, losing 2-1 to Brighton on the opening day of the season, before suffering a 4-0 defeat to Brentford a week later. The poor results led to the Dutchman tweaking his starting XI, most notably dropping captain Harry Maguire for Raphael Varane. The changes to the team-sheet led to a significant improvement in their form, winning eight of their next 12 league games, including victories over Liverpool and Arsenal. Ten Hag’s side sit fifth in the table ahead of their return to competitive football, three points behind fourth-place Tottenham with a game in hand.
As for cup competitions, Ten Hag has guided his team to the Europa League play-off round after they finished second in their group and will face Barcelona for a chance in the last 16 of the competition. United have also reached the fourth round of the League Cup and will now face Burnley on 21 December at Old Trafford.
The club’s form is looking promising with several players being the standout performers for the Dutchman this season. However, as expected, not every individual has thrived since Ten Hag’s arrival this summer, leading to criticism from fans and pundits and a question mark over their futures at the club.
With that being said, we take a look at the three biggest winners and losers for the Red Devils this campaign, including newly-departed Cristiano Ronaldo.
Diogo Dalot - winner
The Portuguese full-back has been a standout performer for United so far this season. He has been key to both offensive and defensive phases of play, providing two assists and a goal in all competitions. Ten Hag’s trust in the 23-year-old has shown why the Red Devils boss should be trusted.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka - loser
Things haven’t gone well for Aaron Wan-Bissaka this campaign. He has featured just once for the club, though he has been in the squad on six occasions. The right-back has been sidelined with injury, however, regardless of this, it seems his future at Old Trafford is up in the air, with a move away from United a potential solution.
Lisandro Martinez - winner
The Argentine has been solid at the back for the Red Devils and has deservedly featured more than any other player so far this season. His summer arrival was criticised by opposition fans and pundits due to his size, but Lisandro Martinez has shown, in his short period at United, that he is one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.
Harry Maguire - loser
His poor form from last campaign has followed into this one. Harry Maguire struggled in the Red Devils’ first two fixtures. His shaky performances in defence, alongside Martinez’s consistency at the back, has led to the Englishman featuring just five times for the Red Devils this season.
Marcus Rashford - winner
The forward looks to be back to his old self this campaign and is the club’s top scorer so far, netting eight times in all competitions, while providing three assists. He has continued his impressive start to the season with England at the World Cup and could very well help lead United to success under Ten Hag.
Cristiano Ronaldo - loser
Last campaign’s Player of the Season and top scorer failed to replicate his impressive performances this time round. He couldn’t adapt to Ten Hag’s style of play and as a result was rightfully benched.
The 37-year-old, who will always be a legend of the club, then participated in an interview with Piers Morgan where he slated the Red Devils’ boss and their board. This led to both parties agreeing on the mutual termination of his contract - the best options for the club and player.