Cristiano Ronaldo secures narrow Carrow Road win over Norwich
In this article, we will take a look at some of the key takeaways from Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Norwich at Carrow Road that included a controversial Red Devils penalty
United is not up to speed under Ralf Rangnick
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labored to a 1-0 win at Carrow Road against Dean Smith’s Norwich and though the result sees the Red Devils climb back up to fifth and ahead of Arsenal by a single point, it was evidently clear that United are still finding their feet under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
The German tactician deployed his troops in his preferred 4-2-2-2 setup that he has turned to with success in other postings in his career, but United have still to get the engine truly running inside the new tactical parameters. Norwich still managed to seek out just as many chances as their counterparts while possession was relatively even throughout (53%-47% in favor of the visiting side) while United also could hardly boast sharpness in possession with just an 81% completion rate.
1903 – Ralf Rangnick is the second Manchester United manager to register a clean sheet in his first two league games in charge of the club after Ernest Mangnall in 1903. Spotlight. pic.twitter.com/IcjmVNUDWu
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
Results are coming of late since the Ole Gunnar Solskjær sacking (3-1-0 in the Premier League), but the level of performance is still lacking overall.
Marcus Rashford puts in an uninspired performance
Starting in a front two alongside star man Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford hardly put in a performance befitting of a player with his stature amongst the United first-team and English football on the whole.
His pace, mobility, and technical craft are prime attributes that could see him excel under Ralf Rangnick once the tactical schematics at United are ironed out completely, but he has yet to hit heights he has reached in previous seasons, especially 2019-20 where he smashed 17-goals and added 9-assists.
At current, Rashford has found the back of the net just twice this season in the league after returning from a shoulder injury that kept him out of contention through the first seven matches but appears to still find it difficult to rediscover his influence on the pitch. There is still time for the 24-year-old Manchester native to show a marked improvement but for the time being, he is very much a shadow of himself.
Match-winner spares Ronaldo his blushes
Another match, another match-winner for star forward Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese icon slotted home from the spot after being brought down in the area by Norwich right-back Max Aarons with a little over 15-minutes remaining.
3 – Cristiano Ronaldo is the third player to score for three different Man Utd managers (Solskjaer, Carrick, Rangnick) in a single season after James Hanson and Joe Spence both did so in 1926-27 (Chapman, Hilditch, Bamlett). Prolific. pic.twitter.com/Cx4xUfB9ic
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
Ronaldo calmly blasted past Dutch keeper Tim Krul to mark his seventh goal of the domestic campaign for United, but the goal will certainly spare his blushes as – once again – the Red Devils Premier League icon was very much on the periphery of proceedings.
Goals often mask shortcomings, especially for players who are box strikers or final-third players that contribute little to other phases of play; a profile that Ronaldo has certainly morphed into as he has gotten on in age during his otherwise glistening career.
Manchester United fans will be grateful for another goal-scoring performance, but if Ronaldo is to sustain himself under a Rangnick system moving forward, more is needed from him than just goals.