Where would Manchester United be without Cristiano Ronaldo?
The talismanic forward has heroically carried the Red Devils on his broad shoulders since the start of the season, hauling them back from the brink of mediocrity time and time again.
Late winners and dramatic equalisers have become the currency of the day at Old Trafford, with Ronaldo forced to take matters into his own hands to rescue his beloved United from embarrassment.
His stunning volley against Atalanta in the week was just another example of his uncanny ability to take the game by the back of the neck and force it into submission.
Now, Ronaldo’s attention will turn to his first Manchester derby since his joyous summer homecoming to the Theatre of Dreams.
Remarkably, United lie just three points adrift of Manchester City – a minuscule number considering how poor the Red Devils have looked at times this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will absolutely have to pull their socks right up if they wish to pull level with City on Saturday, and you can imagine that Ronaldo will be at the forefront of their planning.
However, United may have to look for rescue from elsewhere with Ronaldo’s miserable record against Pep Guardiola-managed sides suggesting that the Spaniard has Ron’s number – and has done for some time.
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s record against Pep Guardiola
In 16 clashes with a Guardiola side, Ronaldo has come out on top just four times, losing eight and drawing a further four.
In that time, he has managed to find the net on just seven occasions – a paltry number for a man who prides himself on bagging goals for fun.
They are worrying statistics for United fans, who will know better than anyone just how important it is that Ronaldo isn’t shut down on Saturday.
It took the Portuguese superstar six games to register his first win over a Guardiola side as he scored the winner in the 2011 Copa Del Rey final for Real Madrid.
However, this is the derby after all and, no matter how many stats you throw hither and thither, the passion and gravity of the occasion will always bring out the best in the players.
Ronaldo in particular, will be hoping that the site of the old enemy on their turf will be enough to get his teammates firing on all cylinders.
If he is left to find all the answers all on his own yet again, Guardiola may just pounce.