Manchester United confirmed the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as their new interim manager until the end of the season on Monday, just four days before their home game against Arsenal.
Michael Carrick has secured four points from his two matches at the helm, three of which come in the Champions League and one in their recent 1-1 draw against Chelsea, and it is still not certain whether he will oversee the command for the midweek meeting.
Work is underway to finalize the details of Rangnick’s visa, one of which will determine when he can take his place in the excavation. When he finally does, the style difference he will offer to implement will stand in stark contrast to his predecessors.
But has he already started to make an impression? Has he already got a soft grip on this team?
Arsenal can take advantage of Manchester United’s tactical tweak as Carrick implements high pressure system in 1-1 draw with Chelsea
After defeating Newcastle 2-0 last time, Arsenal find themselves sitting in fifth place and equal with West Ham in fourth place after 13 games this season. It was not pretty against the Magpies, but it was patient and enough to secure three comfortable points.
The test they have to face at Old Trafford will be on a different scale. Manchester United may be severely flawed, but they still have an enviable squad filled with exceptional attacking talent and threats all over the pitch.
Seeing Ole Gunnar Solskjær fail to pull the performance out of players who fell well below their abilities had been one of the most entertaining aspects of the season, so the arrival of a manager known for his high intensity pressure and harassment will stand in stark contrast to lukewarm counter-attacking football previously shown.
But even though Rangnick has not yet taken his place on the sidelines, has he already said his opinion on the style?
Carrick was convinced in the wake of the Stamford Bridge draw that Rangnick had no input into the team’s selection or tactics. “No,” he said when asked if the German was involved. Still, it seems strange that just a day before his official announcement that United were trying to pressure Chelsea on their own half, something that has not done, or at least has not managed, the whole campaign long.
So even though he’s still waiting for a visa and may only be able to watch Thursday’s match from the stands, a slight nod to his favorite style of play being used on the eve of his appointment provides an interesting ‘coincidence’.
A Cristiano Ronaldo-less United, taking this approach out by one of the title favorites, is also proposing a similar application on Thursday. And if that is the case, it’s there for Arsenal to take advantage of.
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