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Ralf Rangnick must find the Bruno Fernandes solution to be successful at Man United



Manchester United somehow escaped Carrow Road with three points after a fortunate 1-0 win over Norwich City.

A game that honestly should’ve ended as a draw; both teams were as good as each other, which is quite a depressing sentence thinking Norwich currently sit bottom in the Premier League.

The penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo scored was a very soft claim to put it nicely. However, United were able to hold on after making relatively few chances to leave with three points and push them higher up the league table.

The brunt of criticism for United in the game lay on the shoulders of Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder has easily been United’s best player since his arrival in January 2020. However, his form under Ralf Rangnick has left a lot to be desired.

Fernandes had a game to forget. Per sofascore, he only completed 67% of his passes, gave away possession a staggering 27 times, didn’t complete a single cross out of the five attempted, with only two of his seven long balls also being completed.

Now Fernandes isn’t known for his high-efficient passing and ball retention anyway, but this game took the cake for Bruno effectively striking out with a lot of his attempts.

The 4-2-2-2 formation of Ralf Rangnick’s hasn’t seemed to work currently for Fernandes, who appears to be acclimating very slow to the new system. However, one of United’s biggest problems is that when Fernandes isn’t firing, as he was against Norwich, United don’t have a plan B.

With the injury of Paul Pogba, not to mention the Frenchman arguably on the verge of leaving the club, United don’t have many options. The full-backs of United that have become a focal point of creativity in modern football is waning at the club, with the right-flank being utterly devoid of form.

Unlike the teams Rangnick has managed prior, which United desperately needs, the team does not have a forward who can do the so-called “dirty work”.

In the same way Rangnick did well with the likes of Yussef Poulsen at RB Leipzig and famously with Roberto Firmino at Hoffenheim, he had forwards who would sacrifice themselves for the better of the team, creating chances for their partnering forwards.

United’s best passer or playmaker would’ve arguably been Fred against Norwich if Bruno Fernandes came off the pitch. If you hadn’t noticed, I’m a big fan of Fred, but the Brazilian should not be tasked as a primary playmaker for a team with title aspirations.

United sorely need a forward who can take that load off Fernandes. A striker who can drop deeper and link play with them. All the best teams in the world have them, such as Firmino mentioned above at Liverpool, Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich, and the conglomerate of false nine’s Manchester City use.

Yes, Fernandes is struggling in this system. Still, when the following options for creativity are either Fred or Jadon Sancho weaving through multiple players, it makes much more sense that Bruno is still being played through this slump.

United has shown more grit in these games since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the defensive record under Rangnick is already much better. However, the new system may not be suitable for the current attacking impetus of Manchester United.

Hopefully, this can hopefully either be rectified by the return of Edinson Cavani or in the upcoming January transfer window. If not, this season might be a very long struggle for Rangnick and Manchester United.


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




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




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




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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