Man Utd’s slopes give Rangnick encouragement


It has become a ceiling on Manchester United’s ambitions. When the ball arrives at Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s feet in the final third, you can almost hear the collective moaning around Old Trafford.

Roy Keane recently joked that Crystal Palace would be reluctant to take back Wan-Bissaka after sanctioning his £ 50m sale to United in 2019. It was a cheap excavation, but the point remains that it is difficult to imagine another top club which houses the idea of ​​writing on the former Palace hill.

Go in, Diogo Dalot.

With Wan-Bissaka missing in the squad against Arsenal on Thursday night, the Portuguese was drafted into his first league start of the season. When incoming boss Ralf Rangnick watched from the stands, he really gave the Germans cause for optimism.

Dalot competes with Nuno Tavares / Shaun Botterill / GettyImages

His involvement in United’s second goal – and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 800th – was particularly noteworthy. With Arsenal left-back Nuno Tavares out of position, Dalot showed the speed of thought to make a wonderful reverse pass into Marcus Rashford in space. The Englishman then pulled the ball back to Ronaldo with his next action to sweep United in front.

It is these moments of ingenuity that Wan-Bissaka has often missed. His defensive minerals have never been questioned – note the number of last blocks for which he is responsible – but United have suffered from his lack of conviction in the final third. The ball has basically been left to rot when they change games to the right edge.

United fans could only look on in jealousy when Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson drove Liverpool to the 2019/20 Premier League title. The former’s creative figures have completely exceeded Wan-Bissaka’s and, to put it mildly, it can often seem as if they are engaging in a completely different sport.

Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel have also emphasized the value of full-backs with consistent end products. Reece James is at the top of the Blues’ top scorers this season – five goals and five assists – while Ben Chilwell had been in top form for the attack until his most recent injury.

Rangnick will also be encouraged by left-back Alex Telles, whose omission during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season made United loyalists scratch their heads in the middle of Luke Shaw’s loss of form.

The Brazilian has largely impressed in a United shirt, but his inability to put together a series of starts has undermined his efficiency. The outer back competed well against the dangerous Gabriel Martinelli, with his athletic ability a key component against an outer with burning speed.

Alex Telles is often overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer / Shaun Botterill / GettyImages

There are still gaping holes in this United team, and it is fair to point out that the full-back positions are secondary to the absence of quality at the heart of the pitch. But this is an area that was neglected during Solskjaer and will require immediate operation under the incoming manager.

But finally, United finally has a combination of full-backs who can meet the demands of modern, high-octane football. In that respect, Rangnick can start working in Manchester with a smile.

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