Tag Archives: Premier League

What Manchester United fans learnt from Ralf Rangnick’s first win as manager

Manchester United earned back-to-back victories in the Premier League for the first time since September as Fred’s goal gave Ralf Rangnick a winning start as manager.

The German boss took over as interim manager until the end of the season following the win over Arsenal in midweek and named an unchanged team for the visit of Palace, who were set up to counter and attack United’s weaknesses.

The Reds turned in an excellent first half performance but they didn’t find the breakthrough until late on, when Fred whipped one into the top corner with his right foot from the edge of the box.



United learnt from the performance that there are some things to come and there are plenty of positives to take from it, but here are the ones I picked out.

Fred will love Rangnick

If it wasn’t obvious from the fact he got the winner, the Brazilian was excellent throughout. Many people expected an upturn in his fortunes with the arrival of a coach and a more structured system and it showed immediately.

The 28-year-old was quick in the press, more forward thinking with his passing and his tackling was as good as usual. This system is designed to get the best out of players like him and he is thriving in the heart of midfield.

Victor Lindelof enjoyed the responsibility

The Swede continued in the absence of Raphael Varane but he turned in one of the most assured performances of his Old Trafford career.

Lindelof was excellent on the ball, brave to pinch the ball early on the halfway line and constantly organising his midfielders ahead of him too. He did well to completely nullify the threat of Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard up front while also helping Diogo Dalot get forward and track Wilfried Zaha. A top performance.

Attacking full-backs

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was a staple of the defence but it seems as though his position may not be so secure anymore.

Rangnick opted to stick with Dalot and the Portuguese defender turned in an excellent display, with great confidence on the ball and a real threat up and down the wing. With the full-backs keeping a high starting position, the attacking abilities are important and Dalot could be a big winner in this change.

Manchester United Head Coach / Manager Ralf Rangnick congratulates Diogo Dalot of Manchester United at the end of the Premier League match between...

Free flowing attack

United pressed high and were impressive off the ball in the game, but the performances of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho were also positives in an attacking sense.

Both men pressed well and they linked well together in and around the box as United touched the ball more times in the opponents penalty area than in any game since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

While neither were directly involved in the goal, it showed that they can be key figures in the side and that can only be a positive for Manchester United.

Barcelona keen on signing Ferran Torres from Manchester City

After starting the season as Manchester City’s first-choice striker, it now seems that Ferran Torres could be on his way back to Spain in the January transfer window.

The Spain international started the season well in the number nine role for Pep Guardiola’s side and with his performances for the national team too, Barcelona are reportedly very interested in bringing him to the club.

All three parties are reportedly willing to make a deal happen during the winter window, but what would that mean for Man City’s season?



Torres had made the central striker role his own ahead of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling at the start of the season, before suffering an injury while on international duty with Spain.

It means he hasn’t featured for City since scoring in the 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers back in September.

Despite that though, City have been able to top their Champions League group ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and currently sit second in the Premier League table just one point behind Chelsea.

Only Chelsea and Liverpool have scored more goals than the 27 they have managed in the 13 Premier League games they’ve played so far, while Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and more recently Sterling have all been having good seasons. They’ve not missed him much.

Head coach Pep Guardiola of Manchester City and Ferran Torres of Manchester City gestures during the UEFA Champions League group A match between...

However allowing him to leave mid-season is unlikely to be much help to City, so if the reports are true then they will need to replace him adequately.

Whether City will renew their push for Harry Kane as a central striker option or whether they would rather target a wide man to replace Torres is unknown, but the apparent €70million fee would open up plenty of potential options for them.

After spending just €20m on him from cash-strapped Valencia two summers ago, it would be a deal that represent big profit for a player who’s hardly ripped up any trees since joining.

Torres is a good young player with plenty of potential and talent, but he’s far from indispensable to this City side and they’re more than capable of replacing him if they need to.

Ferran Torres of Spain celebrates his team's fifth goal during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Spain and Germany at Estadio de La...

He would fit in well at Barcelona with their new crop of young players coming through and would be able to establish himself with the national team while earning regular minutes at club level.

It’s a move that suits all if they can get it done, but the replacement will be key to if this one gets over the line.

Ralf Rangnick can find out exactly where Manchester United stand against Arsenal

Manchester United play host to long-time rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford in the Premier League tonight, and it’s the start of a new era.

The Reds have seen two games go relatively well results wise since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked following a poor run, with a 2-0 win over Villarreal followed up with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge vs Chelsea.

Michael Carrick has been the man in charge of those fixtures, and has vehemently denied that new interim manager Ralf Rangnick had any input on team selection and tactics.



But after being officially announced as the interim manager until the end of the season, Rangnick will surely have input on this game despite not being in the dugout for it.

The German is still working through the visa process and won’t be able to officially take charge of the team against Arsenal, but reports say he has already been looking at training tapes and analysing previous games to be able to hit the ground running when he does eventually take charge.

But with that time edging ever closer, it won’t be beyond the realms of possibility that he has a big say in team selection and training methods leading into this game.

Even if he isn’t though, this is a game where he will finally be able to see what the team is truly made of and the size of the task he has taken on. While Villarreal are a good team in their own right, United are supposed to be beating them.

Head coach of Manchester United Michael Carrick and Forward of Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo during Champions League match between Villarreal...

Chelsea are a team right now that would cause any team to adapt their tactics slightly too, so it’s no surprise United went extra defensive in that sense.

But against Arsenal, at Old Trafford and with a win desperately needed in the Premier League, they have to go for it. The fans will be right behind them, the players should be up for it to impress the new boss and they are playing against a team who have their own issues.

This isn’t an Arsenal team that have been particularly impressive recently, despite their results. Mikel Arteta is still learning on the job and while his side have started to somewhat resemble what he has been speaking about since being in charge almost two years ago, they still have glaring weaknesses.

On paper, the United squad is considerably stronger than Arsenal’s and they have the ability to put this team to the sword if they are firing. But that’s a big ‘if’ considering recent form, and Arsenal will be raring to go against a wounded animal.

Jadon Sancho of Manchester United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at...

If United can show their true level they should win this game. If they perform below it, then it’s very possible they get beaten and fall even further down the table in the race for a top four place.

But one thing that will be sure, is that Rangnick will have a much better idea of his task after 90 minutes at Old Trafford. Whether he can turn it around or build on it, is a different question entirely.

Rafa Benitez must give Everton fans a reason to love him

One of the big stories in the summer was that of Rafa Benitez joining Everton as manager to replace the departed Carlo Ancelotti.

After the Italian re-joined Real Madrid in a shock move to surprise Everton, the Toffees took their time to appoint his replacement.

There were talks with Frank Lampard, Eddie Howe and Nuno Espirito Santo but ultimately, the decision of the owner Farhad Moshiri was to bring in Liverpool fan favourite Benitez.



Immediately fans protested the decision, letting it be known that they were not happy with his involvement in the club considering the brilliant history he has with their fiercest rivals.

Benitez famously won the UEFA Champions League in 2005 as Reds boss while also leading them on a title charge as they competed with Manchester United and Chelsea in the late 2000’s.

Despite some ugly scenes before he was officially announced in the role, Benitez took over officially before the season started and took charge of pre-season where he signed the likes of Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray.

The season started well too, with three wins from the opening four Premier League games as well as progression in the Carabao Cup against Huddersfield. Since then though, it’s been a bit of a nightmare.

Everton manager Rafa Benitez greets his players after the Premier League match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on August 14, 2021 in...

A 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa on September 18th was the start of seven defeats in ten games, with just one win in that run that has led them to tonight’s Merseyside derby against their in-form city rivals.

A video from the away section of their defeat against Brentford at the weekend showed just how angry Everton fans are right now, and considering Benitez was fighting a losing battle when he took the job initially it hasn’t got any easier for him now.

Something that would undoubtedly get Blues fans on side would be a victory against the Anfield side, who have long been labelled as one of the very best teams in the world currently.

One of those classic defensive performances with some strong counter-attacking threat and a potential upset win, would be the perfect remedy for the fans and go some way to showing exactly where his loyalties lie these days.

Everton manager Rafael Benítez during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton at Molineux on November 01, 2021 in...

Whether it comes against Liverpool or in the following games against Arsenal, Crystal Palace or Chelsea, Benitez needs to do something and quickly.

The longer this stretch of bad form goes on for, the less likely it is that the fans will be forgiving to him as the season becomes harder and harder to resurrect.

The same way Benitez endeared himself to Liverpool fans by winning big games and trophies, the Spaniard must find a way to make Everton fans love him.

Leeds United desperate for Marcelo Bielsa to find his mojo again

After 17 years away from England’s top flight, Leeds United returned to the Premier League last season and were a breath of fresh air under Marcelo Bielsa.

The legendary South American oversaw a stellar Championship campaign with the Yorkshire side that saw them promoted as champions, with expectations among the fan base relatively high following their return to the grandest stage.

It was a great season too for the Elland Road faithful, as Bielsa’s extraordinary man-to-man tactics worked well and secured the club a ninth placed finish with a positive goal difference.



It was a nudge in the right direction for Leeds, who many neutrals were delighted to see back in the big time and performing well.

They play with swashbuckling attacking intent, often prepared to concede goals if it means they’re able to score a few more at the other end of the pitch.

They all trust each other on the ball and are comfortable and confident when it comes to playing their way out of tight situations. All the fortune that their bravery brought last season was well deserved, but this season has been nothing short of a nightmare.

After a 5-1 thumping on the opening day of the season by rivals Manchester United, Leeds have managed just two wins from the following 12 Premier League games so far.

Marcelo Bielsa, Manager of Leeds United looks on during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Leicester City at Elland Road on November...

They are languishing three points above the relegation zone, with just 12 goals scored and 20 conceded. Starting striker Patrick Bamford has missed a chunk of the campaign through injury, while Raphinha hasn’t quite hit the heights he did last year.

Kalvin Phillips also seems to be suffering with a Euro’s hangover after helping England reach their first major international final since 1966 during the summer. Overall, the performances have just been poor for the most part and fans are beginning to worry.

But beyond them all it’s Bielsa who seems to have lost his spark the most. He isn’t nearly as animated on the touchline as he has been in the past, and while he has made decisions to make substitutions early in games he seems to lack the decisiveness he usually possesses.

A team that clearly thrives on confidence, Leeds are bereft of it currently.

They’ll take on a Crystal Palace side next who are still transitioning into their full potential under Patrick Vieira but have started the season well. Only Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool have lost less games than Palace and they’re also one of only seven teams in the division to not have a negative goal difference.

Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United applauds the Leeds fans after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United at Tottenham...

If Leeds are to start building momentum to survive this season, there is no time like now. They have seven games left in 2021 and four of them comes against the top three and Arsenal.

They need to win some games and sharpish, or they’re at a very real risk of being relegated at the second time of asking after fighting so hard to get back to where they believe they belong.

If anyone can provide a win for Leeds, it’s not the players on the pitch. It’s their leader off it and their tactical genius of a coach. He has all the tool and qualities to come up with something different for the team to get it to click again, and it must happen now.

Cristiano Ronaldo is Manchester United’s poison and medicine

Manchester United secured a huge point away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but bigger than the result was Michael Carrick’s decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo.

United started the game in a 4-3-3 shape with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho flanking Bruno Fernandes as the striker, with all of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic playing in midfield.

The Reds took the lead in the second half as Sancho pounced on a Jorginho error to slot past Edouard Mendy, before the Italian converted a penalty to ensure a nervy finish.



Ronaldo wasn’t on the pitch when United went ahead but had been called upon by Carrick before the penalty decision, while he was largely anonymous on the field for the rest of the game.

Carrick implemented a high press to try and force Chelsea into errors higher up the pitch, but the home side managed to cope fairly well for the most part.

While some speculated that the incoming Ralf Rangnick may have had something to do with the team selection and decision to drop Ronaldo, Carrick completely ruled that out and it was pretty clear from the style that the German had no involvement.

But what it did offer up were some questions about how Ronaldo will fit in going forward.

Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo replaces Manchester United's English striker Jadon Sancho in the second half during the...

The Portuguese forward is the club’s top goalscorer this season with ten goals, but the Premier League has proved tough for him with just four goals in nine appearances so far. His lack of defensive nous means United are often a man down when it comes to the transitions and keeping clean sheets.

Despite that though, he has proven to be United’s saviour on several occasions already. He scored twice on his debut in a 4-1 win over Newcastle, scoring the opening and go-ahead goals in the game.

He scored the equaliser against West Ham, the opener against Young Boys, the winner against Villarreal at home, the winner in the home game against Atalanta, the opener against Tottenham, both goals in a 2-2 draw with Atalanta away and the opener in the return game against Villarreal too.

All of his goals to date have been meaningful and contributed towards United winning points. So how is it that someone so important can also potentially be a hinderance to the current United squad going forward?

Ultimately, that is the case. His defensive frailties don’t help the side whatsoever on the pitch, but going forward you can’t just ignore how good he is when it comes to being clinical and winning you games.

Forward of Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate after scoring the 0-1 goal with his teammate during Champions League match between...

With Ronaldo now 36-years-old, you get what you’re given with him at this point. United knew what he offered when they signed him and they did it anyway. To his credit, he has performed too.

For United and Rangnick now, the task remains the same. They need a cohesive defensive unit on the pitch, which also contains Cristiano Ronaldo in attack to have the perfect balance to win games, especially at the highest level.

The Portuguese legend is currently both a poison and a medicine to the Manchester United squad, but United must now find a way to perfectly balance the doses of each.

Liverpool proving they can win without Mo Salah firing

It says something about the strength of the Premier League right now that three of the top four teams in the world right now are plying their trade in England’s top flight.

Alongside Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool are running riot as the best and most effective teams in the world right now.

In those teams are some of the best players in the world right now, but arguably the best of the bunch currently is Anfield hero Mohamed Salah.



The Egyptian has been in the form of his life so far this season, registering an amazing 17 goals and eight assists in 18 games in all competitions.

But as Liverpool played host to Southampton on Saturday afternoon, for once he wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Even despite that though, Liverpool were able to run out 4-0 winners thanks to goals from Diogo Jota, Thiago and Virgil Van Dijk.

Salah did register an assist, but the overall performance for Liverpool was very encouraging against a good side in Southampton.

The full-backs were flying once again, with both Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold registering assists, while the midfield were able to dominate the ball and also chip in with creativity too.

It was the performance of Portuguese forward Jota that would have been most encouraging for Jurgen Klopp though, as he continued his excellent form with two goals early in the first half.

For a player who was initially signed as cover for the famous front three, Jota’s form and performances have pushed him firmly into consideration for a regular starting role in the team ahead of Roberto Firmino.

One of the big things for Liverpool’s attack was that all three players didn’t need to be firing for them to be influential on the result of a game, but Firmino’s drop-off over the last 18 months had essentially taken one of their weapons away.

Jota’s work rate means Liverpool are able to restore the feeling without Firmino, but his added quality in attack means they are back to having a three-pronged attack that is capable of rotating and going toe-to-toe with any defence in the world.

For Liverpool that can only be a good thing. It means that when a team does manage to halt the momentum of Salah, or even Sadio Mane for that matter, they still have one more weapon in their arsenal to punish the opposition.

It’s amazing for Liverpool and just another reason why they’re among the best teams in the world currently.

Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira can show us what the future of the Premier League looks like

This weekend will see a legendary Premier League midfield battle take place on the touchline as Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa take on Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace.

Both men are in their first Premier League jobs as manager after taking over in the summer and during the most recent international break respectively, showing just how far the league has come as a spectacle.

During their respective playing careers, there weren’t many better than them in their midfield roles but now as coaches they are trying to carve a whole new legacy that can help them stand out.



Since taking over at Selhurst Park in the summer, Vieira has overseen a complete overhaul of playing style and ethos at the club.

From a team that was set up to defend their box and counter through Wilfried Zaha under Roy Hodgson for years, they are now a team that look to be brave in possession and create their own chances rather than just trying to capitalise on opponent’s mistakes.

They have a young squad that are composed and offensive minded, while defensively they look as solid as they have in the past.

Conor Gallagher of Crystal Palace speaks with Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Manchester City and...

Gerrard has made a name for himself in the Scottish Premiership with Rangers, helping to end Celtic’s dominance and earning them their first league title in ten years.

He plays attacking football, with an emphasis on control and speed while he also trusts youth if he deems them good enough.

For both, it’s an ode to the way they played the game themselves. Both love a powerful midfield with speed in attack and defenders who defend first and foremost. It’s also a blueprint to players of that era in the Premier League who are looking to move into coaching and management.

Playing in that era of football had a magical feeling, as technique and technology had more of a place than just passion and fitness. It’s likely that a lot of players from that era in the Premier League will see the game in a similar light, especially those who had success like these did.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion at Villa Park on November...

The more we see former players move into management, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Scott Parker and Frank Lampard already involved it could lead to seeing a reincarnation of the old style of play with the new advancements tweaked in.

If Gerrard is able to continue his successful managerial spell with Villa and Vieira can continue the good job he has done at Palace so far, fellow ex-pros will see the benefits too and be more inclined to try and implement their way of playing onto their teams.

That can only be a good thing with the way football is improving, and that means fans will get a show every week no matter the fixture happening in the stadium.

Chelsea showing how important Manchester United managerial decision is

Premier League leaders Chelsea play host to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon in the big game of the weekend, with more than just three points on the line.

Both sides picked up wins in midweek in the Champions League, with United earning a 2-0 win over Villarreal thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, while Chelsea smashed Juventus 4-0 at Stamford Bridge with Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner on the scoresheet.

But it’s the managerial position at both clubs that is currently in the headline most, and for very different reasons.



It’s a little under a year since Tuchel arrived at Chelsea following his sacking at Paris Saint-Germain, and the turnaround in the club’s fortunes since have been phenomenal.

They became European champions for a second time with a 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final last season, and currently sit top of the Premier League with a three point lead over City and just four goals conceded in 12 games so far.

Tuchel celebrated his 50th game in charge against Juventus and it brought to light an incredible statistic showing just how good he has made his side in a short space of time.

New manager Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea holds up the home Nike Shirt at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2021 in London, England.

It was his 32nd win as manager, but amazingly it was also the 31st clean sheet he has overseen as boss. In the other 19 games, Chelsea have conceded just 24 goals with five of those coming in that shock defeat to West Brom last season.

He has absolutely maximised the talent in his team and by tweaking his system throughout his time at the club, he has made them look formidable in all aspects of play.

For Manchester United, they need something very similar to happen for them. After sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday, they find themselves in a position where the season could still be saved if the right man could be brought in.

Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the role on a full-time basis, but it seems highly unlikely that he would join before the summer. This has led to the club appointing Ralf Rangnick as their interim coach until the end of the season, before moving into a consultancy role afterwards.

Players of Manchester United celebrate after a goal during UEFA Champions League Group F match between Villarreal and Manchester United at Estadio de...

There were countless names linked to the job, but Rangnick can be seen as the man with a plan so to speak.

He will have the right ideas, right mentality and right character to try and save the season for the club while also laying the foundations for whoever it is the club are planning to bring in on a full-time basis. He just needs to execute now.

The results of what could happen if they get the next decision right will be staring them right in the face on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Ralf Rangnick: A complete insight into Manchester United’s new interim manager

Football is very simple, players will follow you if they can see you are making them better and my job is to always make a player better.

Well into his 60’s, Ralf Rangnick has been involved in football for decades. He was almost always born to be a manager, from the age of just six years old he was always trying to improve people around him, not only in football but in life.

Rangnick has never had a flashy job, he’s not that spoken about outside of Germany, however his influence on football is one in which goes back a long time and has shaped the modern game today.



Rangnick, like Marcelo Bielsa in many ways, doesn’t do things the way in which normal managers would and he doesn’t look at football like other managers of his generation did.

Also like Bielsa, Rangnick has a slew of managers in the modern game in which he has helped mould and shape. Two of these managers have won the Champions League in the last 3 years playing in a style that has the markings of Rangnick all over it. With front foot, high pressing, high discipline and quick countering styles.

The two managers he has had the biggest influence over are current Liverpool and Chelsea managers Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel. However all of Julien Nagelsmann, Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Ralph Hasenhuttl have all seen and taken parts of Rangnick’s philosophy over the years, and adopted them into their current set ups.

Klopp has stuck to the absolute conditions of what Ralf would consider a great team, implementing and bringing to the UK the biggest component of a Rangnick team, that of ‘Gegen-pressing’.

Head coach Ralf Rangnick of Schalke and head coach Juergen Klopp of Mainz smile before the Bundesliga match between Schalke 04 and FSV Mainz 05 at...

Gegen-pressing, or counter-pressing, is something that is widely used now in various different versions. Klopp and Pep have their own way of using it, but Klopp has Rangnick’s exact philosophy and set up for it which is smash mouth, in your face and complex press triggers that opponents will struggle to work out.

It’s extremely important to bring up Gegen-pressing as Rangnick is someone seen as the godfather of football in Germany. He ditched the much used ‘sweeper’ system in favour of this more aggressive style, with fast wide players operating high up the pitch, a target man used to cut off passing lanes, high full-backs and a three man midfield that press like crazy.

When you consider that, you can see the Liverpool model. So it’s understandable why people like myself who have watched Rangnick’s teams over the years play a brand of football that to me, is the most beautiful to watch.

So, what we can expect from Rangnick at Manchester United given this team has had many years of poor management and not enough coaching in general?

I can break it down in five things that Ralf speaks about in great length any time anyone asks his philosophy.

1. “What happens if we have the ball? How do we want to play? How do we play against a low block, a high press, a counter attacking team?”

He has meticulous planning for every situation and it will not be left to the players to work out. They will have session, drills, structures and patterns put in place of where they should be and how to deal with situations faced in game. But, importantly, it also will allow for them to have creative freedom in the final third.

This will be nice to hear for United fans who were told just this week by their longest standing player and goalkeeper, “We do not know what we are supposed to do with the ball.”

2. “What do we want to do if the other team has the ball? How do we want to defend that? What kind of game plan, match plan, information do I give my players to deal with this? It’s simple for me, our football is heavy metal, rock and roll, we want the ball back as fast as possible.”

3. “What happens in the moment we lose the ball?
4. “What happens in the moment we win the ball back?

Rangnick had a clock scoreboard added to the RB Leipzig training complex that had a countdown timer of eight seconds.

‘The eight second rule’ is adopted by a lot of top coaches to this day, if you lose the ball anywhere on the pitch, you have 8 seconds of intense press before you revert back to shape.

Head coach Ralf Rangnick is seen training session of German Bundesliga second division team RB Leibzig in Leipzig on July 3, 2015

The press triggers are abandoned at this point and it involves the entire team cutting passing lanes and getting the ball back as fast and as aggressively as possible, allowing for what they call in Germany ‘chance auf Volumen’ a chance of volume or, ‘high volume chance’ a break away and movement that allows for the highest chance of success of a goal.

It is implemented as in those eight seconds, the opponents are disorganised and the player taking it under control doesn’t have the time to control it properly and assess their options when overwhelmed with often three or four vs one, and will either kick it long, or relinquish possession, allowing for quick vertical passes (Rangnick likes this to be under three passes) for a shot at goal.

This exact philosophy and play-style was used during his time with Leipzig in 18/19 and 60% of their goals were scored after they won the ball back in under ten seconds.

5. “The final component is set pieces, 30% of all goals are scored either on or straight after a set piece so, as coaches, you need to be alert to that and as 30% of all goals are scored in this manner, I commit 30% of my training to set pieces.”

Ralf Rangnick is a special kind of coach. He is in the business as he wants to improve players. He also has been in the mind frame for Man United for almost ten years, ever since his Schalke side played Manchester United and despite a heavy defeat, his play-style was admired by many there.

Ralph Rangnick, head coach of Leipzig reacts during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig at on November 29, 2018...

Over the years he has been used for some consultancy work on a wide variety of topics that Man United needed help on, future manager profiles, player profiles, youth team approaches and training approaches.

He has, while minor in the grand scheme of things, been a part of United for many years behind the scenes and he has never hidden his desire to manage United one day.

How will it work at Manchester United with the players we have?

Manchester United, willingly or unwillingly, have actually built a team very close to what Rangnick would like in his own set ups. His age profile is usually 18-24 however, a lot of Manchester United players are in that age bracket or just outside of it and they have pace, one of the key components that you cannot teach.

They may lack the stamina at the start but, this is something that can be taught and coached. Even with Ronaldo, the play-style that Rangnick would implement can be absolutely successful and I will try to explain the core principles of his pressing that a lot of United players will have drilled into them.

I can see Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Donny Van De Beek, Fred and Bruno Fernandes used a lot under him.

When the opponent has the ball I would expect United to adopt a 4-3-3 style formation, with the front 3 pressing up against the opponents box and one of the midfielders standing close to an outlet in the midfield.

The main reason for this is to get the goalkeeper to play the ball out to a centre back, close off the angles and offer up an option around the midfield that can be the trigger to press.

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So, the keeper has the ball, Ronaldo is blocking off the opposing team’s defensive midfielder, Sancho and Rashford have the full-backs covered. They want the keeper to pass it to number 2 or 4 in the image above. So, imagine the ball is passed to number 2 in the image above, what would that change about the shape.

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Ronaldo would push in between the goalkeeper and centre backs, Bruno would take up Ronaldo’s position, Rashford and Sancho would become more aggressive in their press leaving what seems a free, easy pass out.

But, if you look, this is the trigger, now the team is in a lot of danger. Their full-backs are split, their centre backs are split and they are about to get in to a four man press on one player.

At this point, it’s fast, aggressive pressing from Rashford, Fernandes, Van De Beek and Fred, leaving them with this situation.

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From here, it’s unlikely the player will be able to do anything but lose the ball. All that’s left then is in under two passes Rashford, Fernandes, Fred or Van De Beek get the ball and get it to Ronaldo as fast as possible, giving him a very high volume chance.

From here, Ronaldo would not be required to be sprinting around. He would have Sancho, Rashford, Van De Beek, Fred and Fernandes for that. Ronaldo’s sole job is once the keeper has released the ball to either CB he goes and cuts off the passing lane to him.

He is already very good at this, and while you can say a lot about Ronaldo doesn’t press but, his on pitch positioning when cutting off passing lanes is actually one of the best around at the moment.

You can see these types of patterns in the below video if you watch it all the way through.

The fact Rangnick’s strikers aren’t required to be the main presser is actually a plus side with United having Ronaldo here. It also would not surprise me if he utilised Edinson Cavani as a wide player on some occasions due to his relentlessly high energy and willing pressing.

Should Man United fans be excited?

Absolutely. Anyone that has followed me on social media for the last month or two will know I have been banging the drum for Rangnick for a reason.

He is tactically flexible, playing a 3-4-2-1, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-2-2 system and he will play them at a high proficiency, as he will get time over these seven months on the training pitch to drill this into the players.

But the main reason I advocated for Rangnick is he can shape a club from top to bottom and he loves that responsibility.

If I had to guess going from this appointment, the most likely successor will be Ten Hag in the summer as opposed to Pochettino. Both Ten Hag’s and Rangnick’s philosophies are intertwined. They are a match made in heaven.

Coach Ralf Rangnick of Hoffenheim reacts during the Bundesliga match between FC St. Pauli Hamburg and1899 Hoffenheim at Millerntor Stadium on August...

Over the years, Manchester United have been jumping from one manager to the next with no plan, Rangnick can implement a modern style and a plan for the club over the next five years. United will be fun, exciting, energetic and very difficult for teams to deal with once he does get his messages across.

I don’t think it will happen instantly, however I think there will be a day and night difference between the team we see now who have absolutely zero idea what to be doing on the ball compared to in a few months time where it will be autonomous.

We have all seen that terrific clip of Rangnick explaining that if Pep, Tuchel, Klopp, himself and Hasenhuttl all went to their players at 11pm to say “come downstairs in one hour and we will do 2x 15 minutes 11v11” they would do it automatically. They would make the same movements almost in their sleep as it is in their hearts, their minds, their blood that this is how they play and they will not deter from it.

All I can say is, finally. Manchester United have one of the best Technical Directors around and a man in whom many of the top coaches looked up to and still do, to this day.