The Ralf Rangnick Effect

Ralf Rangnick

Liam Bewsher

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The Ralf Rangnick Effect

At the weekend Manchester United played their first game under Interim Manager Ralf Rangnick beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Old Trafford via a stunning strike from Brazilian midfielder Fred in the 77th minute of the match.

This victory now means that Manchester United are just three points off West Ham United in fourth and after just one training session under the German, the signs were obvious to see, as, throughout this match, there seemed to be an air of control, composure and proactiveness that those who watch the Old Trafford club have not seen regularly this season, as United actually made the most interceptions they have made in the final third of the pitch since Sir Alex’s days, doing so 12 times and kept their first home clean sheet of the season, having conceded in their last 15 home games, their worst run since 1958/59.

The former Schalke 04 manager lined up in a 4-2-2-2 formation which was that which we became accustomed to seeing during his time as Sporting Director and coach of German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. Most importantly, it worked, as Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford all defended from the front, perhaps a sign of things to come.

The performance itself was dominant, against a side that certainly can’t be underestimated in Palace, as prior to this they had drawn 2-2 with Arsenal, as well as beaten Manchester City 2-0 and Tottenham Hotspur 3-0. The Red Devils also hadn’t defeated the Eagles at home since the 2017/18 season, drawing 0-0 and losing 2-1 and 3-1 in the following campaigns.

Following this result and the manner of performance, there are some who are posing the question of if Rangnick will stay as manager longer than his sixth-month Interim contract, as the German even mentioned that he may suggest as part of his consultancy role that he stays in the Old Trafford hot seat longer.

Manchester Utd Manager First Day of 2022/23 Season

skybet betting tip

RALF RANGNICK @ 3/1

Will United Make the Top Four?

A question which will be asked, is can United make the top four? At first glance, there are promising signs, as they navigated their way well under departed coach Michael Carrick following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking, as they beat Villarreal and Arsenal 2-0 and 3-2, as well as earning a positive result at Chelsea via a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Ragnick’s first match in charge saw arguably United’s best performance of the season since defeating Leeds United 5-1 on the opening weekend of the season, and with none of the renowned ‘Big Six’ to play until March, then the Red Devils should fancy themselves to pick up a significantly higher tally than those around them up to that point, especially with the attacking quality that they possess in their side and what looks like a newly found balance in the 4-2-2-2 formation.

FA Cup Winners 21/22 Odds

skybet betting tip

MANCHESTER UNITED @ 6/1

Will United Make Any Signings in January?

Something that will frequently be asked in the upcoming transfer window is will United make any signings to try and further enhance their chances of requalifying for the Champions League?

United have been linked to multiple RB Leipzig players such as Christopher Nkunku, Nordi Mukiele and Amadou Haidara, as well as Erling Haaland due to Rangnick’s relationship with the Norwegian and a rumoured bonus in his contract to get the Norwegian star to sign for the Old Trafford club, something that was firmly denied by the German in his first press conference as manager of the Red Devils.

Players such as Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles who have been rumoured to be unhappy with their lack of game time have stepped up to the plate since Solskjaer’s departure as manager and ultimately their solid displays could shift focus to the more obvious area which United need to improve upon, defensive midfield, as the renowned ‘McFred’ midfield of Fred and Scott McTominay have often been scrutinised for their lack of ball-playing abilities and cohesion at times, potentially leaving a door open for Haidara or even the much courted Declan Rice of West Ham.

United’s midfield duo of Fred and McTominay, which has frequently been utilised since the start of last season did well against Palace, but, there is no doubt that this is an area which United need to strengthen in both quality and depth, as Nemanja Matic will be 34-years-old by the start of next season and remains as the club’s only out and out central midfielder.

Transfers - Next Permanent Club

skybet betting tip

DECLAN RICE TO JOIN MANCHESTER UNITED FROM WEST HAM (BET LOSES IF RICE STAYS AT WEST HAM FOR REST OF CAREER) @ 7/4

What Would Make This Season a Success?

On Sunday, Rangnick became the sixth German to manage a Premier League side, but, the first to win their opening match in charge of a club, as the likes of Thomas Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp, David Wagner, Daniel Farke, Jan Siewert and Felix Magath all failed to do so.

There are rumours that Manchester United have inserted a clause in Rangnick’s contract which will see the German be rewarded if the Old Trafford club reach the Champions League next season, but, a question must be asked, what is a successful season for the Red Devils?

With seemingly being out of the running for the Premier League title at this stage, there are two cups to fight for, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. The last time United won the former was under Louis van Gaal in 2016 and something which the Old Trafford hierarchy will be aware of, is the fact they haven’t won a trophy since their Europa League final win in 2017 against Ajax in Stockholm, so a piece of silverware would undoubtedly be some pressure lifted from the club.

Rangnick himself won the DFB Pokal in his time at Schalke in the 2010/11 season, as well as the Super Cup, where he beat Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the initial mentioned cup, before thrashing MSV Duisburg 5-0 in the final, as well as outwitting Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in the DFL Super Cup.

United have made it to the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the FA Cup in the last two seasons and were ultimately outdone by more cohesive units on each occasion in the shapes of Leicester City and Chelsea and will be looking to push themselves to win the cup for the 13th times.

Meanwhile, United, like Chelsea last season have a squad of highly talented individuals and have appointed a manager known for Gegenpressing, the Blues won the Champions League last season, and with United arguably having a better set of attacking players than the Stamford Bridge club, could Rangnick overachieve and lead United to the final in St Petersburg, having lead Schalke to the semi-finals in 2011?

It must be remembered that in the Champions League era, only United in 1999 and 2008 have won the competition having been Premier League champions in the same season.

Champions League Winner 21/22

skybet betting tip

MANCHESTER UNITED @ 14/1

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