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Ralf Rangnick has already addressed Man United’s current biggest problem

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Whether you were inside Old Trafford or watching at home on Amazon Prime Video, it was impossible to take your eyes off the hallowed green turf as Manchester United and Arsenal contested a five-goal thriller on Thursday evening under the lights.

With new interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who was appointed as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor’s on a six-and-a-half month deal on Monday, watching from the stands, United’s players ensured they put on a show for him, running out 3-2 winners, with Cristiano Ronaldo, once again, the Reds’ saving grace, scoring what proved to be a famous and historic double.

While United deserve credit for serving up some much-needed entertainment for the Old Trafford faithful, who have been forced to stomach some forgettable performances and results in recent weeks, Arsenal also deserve credit for making it such an entertaining contest.

After all, it takes two to tango.

Although, certainly for the neutral, it made for a highly entertaining, attention-grabbing contest, there was still parts of United’s play that needs series improvement, not least their defensive standards.

OK, Arsenal’s first goal – scored by Emile Smith Rowe – was a bizarre one and such a scenario is unlikely to crop up again this season. But the second, coolly swept home by Martin Odegaard, raises questions.

Alex Telles had allowed fellow Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli to find no shortage of space down the left and Odegaard was left with the freedom of Old Trafford to fire home the Gunners’ second of the night. Whether it was Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay or Fred that was meant to be tracking him, it was not good enough.

But what’s done, is done. United cannot reflect on that particular situation with too much anger. After all, they went on to win the game and record a much-needed three points, ensuring Michael Carrick’s 15-year spell at Old Trafford ended on a high.

Nevertheless, defensive frailties cannot be allowed to continue. United have now conceded conceded 17 goals in ten matches at Old Trafford in all competitions so far this season, they have failed to register a single clean sheet at home so far this term and have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 home games.

One shut-out in 16 is simply not acceptable for a club of Manchester United’s stature.

Solving the club’s defensive woes at home is a problem that Rangnick, who spoke with a high level of intelligence, understanding and, not least, pride at his United unveiling at an Old Trafford press conference on Friday morning, has to look at closely and find out just why United have shown such levels of vulnerability in their own back yard over the course of this calendar year.

Although he may not have delivered his assessment on that particular problem in such layman terms, it was, one would think, the point he was trying to make when he reflected on the end-to-end feel United’s victory over Arsenal had.

Rangnick said: “Yesterday’s game was exciting for the fans but for myself those are not the kind of games that we need every day because football is to minimise the coincidence factor and have control.

“The major target for me in the next couple of weeks is just to bring more balance into the team. Even yesterday, we conceded two goals and needed three goals, in the end, to win the game.

“If you look at the total number of goals conceded, it is almost two, on average, per game, and this is just too much.”

Rangnick is not wrong. United have been vulnerable defensively, so much so that even Leeds United and Newcastle United, when shipping five and four goals themselves, found a way to goal, robbing United of a clean sheet when they had recorded such convincing victories.

A key word Rangnick mentioned during his Old Trafford unveiling was ‘control’. As proven against Leeds and Newcastle, United have, even if only for short spells in those aforementioned games, lacked that. Under the German, they will need to be in ‘control’ right from minute one.

As proven by Chelsea – the Premier League’s current pace setters – the art of winning, more often than not, is built on defensive solidity and being in control of your own destiny. United shouldn’t be needing to score three or four times just to make sure of a victory.

As the days on the countdown to Christmas are ticked off, and the weeks pass by, Rangnick will discover more and more about his players and squad as a whole. However, tightening them up defensively has to be one of the very first tests that he passes successfully.

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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