Arsenal / Crystal Palace Review

Woah! What a way to begin the Ralf Rangnick era at Manchester United. Rangnick was in the stands for the match against Arsenal at midweek and took to the touchline for the first time against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. The start of the German’s reign began with back to back wins at home. The first a thrilling 3-2 win over Arsenal which saw Michael Carrick manage his last match as caretaker manager and also saw the last of ‘Ole’ ball. Then Rangnick lead out the squad for Crystal Palace and oversaw a 1-0 win over the Eagles that felt a lot more like 3 nil. Both results over this past week ended with maximum points, but the performance between the two was night and day. Rangnick’s first match in charge saw United fully in control.

Man United 3 Arsenal 2

Michael Carrick had overseen two straight victories in his small stint as the caretaker manager. He put out his final lineup as United manager against Arsenal with the hope of leaving the role undefeated and having secured United champions league football. The lineup was very much similar to that of Ole’s typical lineup excluding the fullback position where we saw Dalot and Telles start. The game plan also seemed quite similar to that of Ole’s, but the team did seem to have more wind under its sails.

United fell behind early to an Emile Smith Rowe volley from outside the box that was covered in controversy. When the Arsenal lad went to take on the shot, De Gea had been on the ground injured and completely out of the play. The official initially ruled the goal off, but VAR overturned it due to Fred being the one that tripped De Gea up. Many pundits believe the goal was unfortunate but should’ve stood, while some thought Arsenal should’ve showed some class and given United a goal back. That verdict came form Frank LeBeouf on ESPN FC who called Arteta “not classy” after the match. But, United would go level just before halftime through a Bruno Fernandes strike. That was a much needed goal from the Portuguese magnifico.

2nd Half

The second half saw Cristiano Ronaldo take over the match and show incoming manager Ralf Rangnick just what he can do. Ronaldo would give United the lead in the 52′ and give them the lead again in the 70′ form the penalty spot. Overall United’s performance was too open as they conceded 17 shots and lost the possession battle 56-44. Ralf Rangnick said after the match:

“The game was exciting for the fans, but even for myself, as the future coach, those are not the kind of games that we need every day because football, for me, is to minimize the coincidence factor and have control and gain control of a game.” -Ralf Ragnick

Ragnick was also extremely impressed with Cristiano Ronaldo. The German called him ‘unbelievably fit’ for being 36 years of age. The German gave his verdict on the Arsenal match honestly and he would go on to work on his critiques of this United performance in his first match in charge against Crystal Palace.

Man United 3-2 Arsenal LIVE! Ronaldo goal - Premier League match stream,  latest score updates today

Man United 1 Crystal Palace 0

Finally, Ralf Rangnick took the pitch as United’s manager for the first time against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday. His lineup remained unchanged from the one Carrick put out against Arsenal. Something to be expected for a manager’s first match in charge. But, the performance by that very same lineup was so much better than it was against Arsenal. For the first 30′ of the match the Red Devils held Palace inside their own half. They held constant pressure and created numerous chances. United should’ve been up by two goals before the half. Rangnick said:

“I’m very happy with the way the team performed, the way they played, especially the first half hour–that was exceptional, I thought. The only thing missing in that period was one or tow nil. We had control of the game, I am very happy with the result and the clean sheet.” – Ralf Rangnick

2nd Half

The second half would see United fall off the front foot a bit. Which was due to fatigue. Although, their intent to press early and go forward often was still clear to see. Rangnick was also aware of his players fatigue and wasted no time making changes. Greenwood would replace Sancho around the 60′ of the match. About 30 min’ earlier than a sub would’ve been made under Ole.

Greenwood would also prove to be just the spark United needed. He would drive into the box and provide the assist to Fred. The Brasilein finished tremendously with a looping right footed shot form just outside the box. The shot saw the Palace goal keeper fully outstretched unable to stop the shot. The goal had been coming and was much needed to build some early confidence in the Rangnick era. Asked about the goal Rangnick said, “I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred’s right foot, I thought he could only shoot with his left. I’m happy for him.”

Post Match

The match finished 1-0 and Rangnick secured his first 3 points for Manchester United. Although, just as Alex said in the pod after the match. ‘Had this finished nil nil, the performance still would’ve given United fans hope’. This was the fist match since Sir Alex that United had shown so much control. In fact, United won the ball 12 times in the palace box. Which was their most since Sir Alex was in charge at the club. The performance had the United boss buzzing and even a bit surprised. Rangnick said, “I didn’t expect them to play at that level after such a short amount of time.” The German would go on to say:

“It’s always easier to build on things after you’re successful…we must produce further clean sheets and get better at creating chances for our attack. Overall, I was very pleased with the way we played today.” -Ralf Rangnick

If this match was sign of things to come, then United fans are surely in for some good times moving forward.

Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Fred strike gives Rangnick winning  start - The Busby Babe

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