Cavani Returns: Manchester United’s Potential Lineup & Tactics Against City

Cristiano Ronaldo comes on as a substitute to replace Edinson Cavani.

REUTERS/Phil Noble

Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that Edinson Cavani is available for the Manchester derby on Sunday.

The German tactician will be able to rest Cristiano Ronaldo, who has looked tired after starting all of United’s seven games in February.

However, with no mid-week fixture ahead of the Manchester Derby, the Portuguese could yet be started in the crucial clash. And Cavani’s availability would provide Rangnick with an option to experiment with his formation.

In their 2-0 win at Old Trafford in November, Pep Guardiola’s side had great success down the wings, as United’s wingers didn’t drop regularly to support the full-backs. Ronaldo, meanwhile, was left isolated upfront, with no other attacker around him to combine with in transition.

At the Etihad, Cavani could partner up with Ronaldo in a 4-4-2 formation to hold up the ball higher up the pitch and hit City on counter. Additionally, his pressing would not allow the hosts to build up comfortably from the back.

Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho on the flanks would mean United will have two players with ability to progress and create from deep, as well as support the full-backs. The pivot of Scott McTominay and Fred will complete a narrow midfield four without possession.

In case Rangnick feels a game of this magnitude isn’t ideal for Cavani to start, he can deploy Bruno Fernandes with the same approach.

Predicted Starting XI

Goalkeeper: De Gea

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw

Midfielders: Sancho, McTominay, Fred, Pogba

Attackers: Cavani, Ronaldo

Formation: 4-4-2