When Ralf Rangnick was appointed as Manchester United interim manager, there was lots of hope and optimism that he could rekindle the wilting fire inside the club.
However, since the German took the reigns after United’s win against Arsenal in late November, the team has stalled.
In his first outing against Crystal Palace, United looked transformed for the first 30 minutes and since then, the Reds have regressed and have returned similar performances to the ones seen under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management.
Performances against relegation-threatened Norwich City and Newcastle United have sparked uncertainty about whether Rangnick can steer United in the right direction.
The win against Norwich at Carrow Road was crucial but the performance was below par. A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty was the decisive moment in the game that handed United an undeserved three points.
Since the trip to the Canaries in mid-December, United had been out of action due to a coronavirus outbreak within the club. The Reds resumed training last Tuesday as they prepared to take on Newcastle at St.James’ Park.
There was hope and positivity surrounding the fanbase as fans were excited to see the team return after a two-week absence. However, the result on Monday night against the Magpies only resulted in confusion and negativity after the Reds labored to a 1-1 draw on Tyneside.
In the game against Newcastle, certain individuals did not perform to the level that is required to be a Manchester United player. The game featured few chances for United and represented what a huge task Rangnick has on his hands.
The same cracks that appeared under Solskjaer, are beginning to resurface again. In the first half of the game, United gave away possession a total of 87 times which just signifies the issues within the team.
The lack of creativity from deeper areas has been a constant problem for the last two seasons with neither Fred nor Scott McTominay able to break the lines.
At halftime in the Newcastle game, Rangnick brought on Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani and we saw instant improvement with Bruno Fernandes taking Fred’s role in a deeper position and was able to feed the ball into the forward players more frequently.
United’s equalizer came through Cavani who led the younger players on the pitch and supported them rather than venting his frustration at them.
May of 2022, will mark nine years since Sir Alex Ferguson lifted his final Premier League trophy. When Robin Van Persie scored that infamous hat trick against Aston Villa in a 3-0 win, that clinched United’s 13th Premier League title, who knew that heading into 2022 that would be United’s most recent league title.
Since 2013, fans have had to endure a slow and steady demise of the football club with the only major trophy wins being the FA Cup win in 2016 and the Europa League victory in 2017.
Between 2013 and 2021, Manchester United have spent more than one billion pounds in the hope to get back to the glory days but that just simply has not worked out.
Also during those eight years, United has had multiple managers with none of them being overly successful. United’s best league finish came in the 2017/18 season when Jose Mourinho’s side finished second on 81 points – 19 points behind title winners Manchester City.
United’s downfall has come at an unfortunate time with biggest rivals Liverpool and Manchester City dominating England in recent times.
In the last eight years, many questionable decisions have been made at the football club with the likes of Angel Di Maria being signed for 60 million and then leaving the following season, Phil Jones being handed a five-year contract extension and Harry Maguire being handed the captaincy and they are a handful but there are many more.
One of the oddest decisions made by the club was to operate without a Director of Football and leave Ed Woodward in charge of making transfer decisions. That decision might explain some of the signings that have been made in the recent past.
The Glazers’ ownership has brought frustration and unrest within the fanbase, with them only just starting to communicate with the fans for the first time in 16 years since their takeover in 2005.
2022 could be one of the most important years in recent times for Manchester United, with the managerial situation likely to be a focal point in the summer and the contractual situation of 90 million pounds signing Paul Pogba.
The next six months will be pivotal as to what sort of summer United will have with the club needing to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Many outgoings and ingoings are expected next summer with the focus on bringing in a defensive midfielder and landing the next permanent manager.