As we enter the first international break of the season, Manchester United can reflect on an eventful start to the 2022/23 season.
United sit in sixth place, having played a game fewer than the teams in first and second. The next match is away at City, and if United can win this game, we can go just two points behind them, with a game in hand.
The team have shown some good form in recent weeks, without fully clicking, and this early season interval is an opportune time to introduce our ‘Power Rankings’ for the season, looking at the team’s best and most in-form players.
We will revisit this when the team breaks for the World Cup – to see who is rising and falling…
Manchester United Power Rankings
1: Raphael Varane
France international Raphael Varane has been the key to Manchester United’s revival. The team have won every single match he has played, and lost every match he has been rested for.
Varane has conceded only two goals in 495 minutes of action, inspiring three clean sheets. He has become the team’s most important defender, and United fans are praying he stays fit over the international break.
2: Christian Eriksen
What a fantastic signing Christian Eriksen has been. The Dane has settled right in, being selected to start every single match so far under Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United’s midfield no longer gets overrun with Eriksen in the line-up, and he already has two assists to his name. This piece of transfer business looks inspired.
3: Lisandro Martinez
Another outstanding signing, Lisandro Martinez has helped change the way Manchester United play in defence. His aggressive, front-foot defending has brought a refreshing approach and he is already a fan favourite, winning player of the month for August.
Martinez has helped to get the best out of Raphael Varane too, their partnership has become the cornerstone of United’s improvement. Together they have the makings of the club’s best pairing since Ferdinand and Vidic.
4: Diogo Dalot
Diogo Dalot looks like a player reborn under Erik ten Hag. The right-back has been strong at both ends of the pitch, also selected to start every single game.
He has an assist already, which he did not manage last season, and also won a penalty in the win over Sheriff Tiraspol. The defender’s spirited displays are winning over supporters.
5: Tyrell Malacia
Manchester United fans hoped Tyrell Malacia would displace Luke Shaw, but may not have expected it to take just two games. Once he got his chance, he seized it.
Malacia is now United’s first choice left-back and is also in contention to start for the Netherlands at the World Cup. His bravery to take the move is paying off.
6: Bruno Fernandes
Fernandes has been quietly picking up form and has excelled in his role as captain with Harry Maguire left on the substitute’s bench.
He scored the winner against Southampton and his passing cut Arsenal’s high-line defence to shreds in the win at Old Trafford. There is a lot more to come from him.
7: Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford entered the season with a lot to prove, and has made a positive start. He has scored three goals, with a brace against Arsenal and a strike against Liverpool.
Erik ten Hag is figuring out how to use Rashford effectively. He can be a huge asset if he rediscovers his form of a couple of seasons ago.
8: Scott McTominay
After the first match of the season there was little chance of Scott McTominay figuring on this list. That’s why his turnaround in form deserves so much praise.
McTominay has been excellent in recent weeks, completing 100 per cent of his passes against Arsenal, and has been keeping Casemiro out of the side. This may not last, but while he carries on playing like this, it is hard to drop him.
9: Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho is beginning to figure it all out. He has three goals this season so far, including a winner against Leicester and a goal against Liverpool. This is already just one fewer strike than he managed last season.
Sancho is also spending more time now on his favoured left wing, and is also drifting in centrally to contribute. He can be a big player for Ten Hag.
An instant entry to this top 10, Antony has already become a regular starter under Erik ten Hag on Manchester United’s right wing.
He showed his quality with a goal on his debut against Arsenal, and there is so much more to come. Ten Hag described him as the ‘missing piece’ in United’s attack, and a big few weeks lies ahead for the big money signing.