Cristiano Ronaldo’s record against Arsenal shows exactly why the Manchester United forward should start for Erik ten Hag this Sunday. Ronaldo was named on the United bench again against Leicester on Thursday night, as the Reds went on to win 1-0 over the Foxes thanks to Jadon Sancho’s second goal of the season.
The 37-year-old came on in the 68th minute and looked good in possession as the Portuguese international came agonisingly close to scoring an acrobatic bicycle kick.
Ten Hag made the decision to drop Ronaldo against Liverpool after the harrowing 4-0 loss to Brentford. Since the defeat in West London, the former Real Madrid striker has only played 48 minutes of Premier League football.
However, that could be set to change this Sunday as United welcome league leaders Arsenal to Old Trafford. Mikel Arteta’s side have won all five of their matches so far, scoring 13 goals while only conceding four in the process.
Ronaldo’s record against the Gunners might just make Ten Hag re-think his starting XI for this weekend’s match. The Premier League veteran has scored seven goals in his last eight games against Arsenal in all competitions, scoring both home and away last season.
United beat Arsenal 3-2 in the league at Old Trafford last December, as Ronaldo scored two goals in the game, including a 70th-minute match-winning penalty. Overall, he’s scored nine goals against Arsenal, and should he score on Sunday – it would be the 20th different opponent he has reached double figures against in his career for both club and country.
Ronaldo clearly enjoys playing against the North London club, as his record shows. Incorporating him into the starting XI is a slightly trickier problem for Ten Hag to wrap his head around as he tries to avoid changing a winning formula.
Anthony Elanga’s relatively quiet hour of football at the King Power Stadium could open a potential move for Marcus Rashford to play on the left, with Ronaldo operating more centrally if Elanga does make way.