Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick could be about to make a big team selection against Manchester City this weekend.
Man United will play visitors against Man City this weekend in the Premier League and they could be about to push for an unlikely win without Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting lineup.
Ronaldo has struggled in front of goal this year, scoring only one goal in ten appearances in all competitions, including his last weekend’s dire performance against Watford.
Ralf Rangnick has already proved he is capable of taking big decisions such as this [benching or taking off Cristiano Ronaldo despite the nature of the game].
He did that against Brentford and a few minutes later, his gamble paid off. The German boss has also benched Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba, and Bruno Fernandes. In fact, he relishes the chances of dropping the big names if that’s what it takes to get his ideas across.
The Manchester derby would definitely be a totally different game Ralf Rangnick has managed as United boss. He would, at last, manage a game where his team is likely to be dominated for the majority of the game, thanks to Pep Guardiola’s playing pattern.
In order to advance his chances of getting something off City, he would look to start with the younger players upfront – not only to create some goalscoring chances from counter-attacks but also to keep the team’s tempo high.
Cristiano Ronaldo, having only scored one goal in ten matches [in all competitions] despite playing teams outside the orthodox top-six sides, will likely start on the bench, with Anthony Elanga starting in his place.
Rangnick could plan to switch to a back-three, favouring the likes of Elanga and Jadon Sancho to start in front, with Bruno Fernandes operating as no.10.
Though Ronaldo is regarded as one of the best in the football world, his recent performances have been dreadful, missing several big chances that could have ended up helping Manchester United beat the likes of Middlesbrough, Southampton, Burnley, and Watford in the league.
His benching against Manchester City wouldn’t raise many eyebrows as many fans have since voiced their concerns over Ronaldo’s recent poor performances.
Form-wise, the 37-year-old forward is no different from Marcus Rashford, who has started more as a substitute under Ralf Rangnick and he shouldn’t be treated any different.
Dropping the Portuguese icon would definitely be a big decision for Rangnick, given what he can do at any given time, but it could also be a bold decision that could lead to an unlikely positive result for The Red Devils, who are looking to finish in the top-four this term.
Harry Maguire was left on the bench against Watford and the likes of Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane defended well and kept a well-deserved cleansheet though every concerned United fan would have loved it more if the game ended with a win.
Would Rangnick bring Maguire back in the starting lineup against City? I think not but if he did, then there was no point in benching him against Watford because both Varane and Varane did amazingly well.