His first matchday in over two years saw his side victorious by one goal to nil.
It wasn’t the most sublime of performances, but all the signs were there.
Ralf Rangnick Start, New Staff Incoming, Anthony Elanga’s Surprise Inclusion and More
Following his appointment as interim manager, Rangnick told the press that two or three names will be joining his staff at the club, despite United retaining most of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching team.
Michael Carrick left the club of his own accord and now looks set to be replaced by Chris Armas, formerly of New York Red Bulls, where he’d have no doubt struck a relationship with Rangnick.
Armas’ arrival was reported by first reported by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman this morning and has since been picked up by many other reliable journalists.
Armas was a midfielder in his playing days, featuring most for Chicago Fire and capped 66 times by the United States.
As a coach, he has assisted Chicago Fire, led Adelphi Panthers (women), assisted and then led New York Red Bulls over a five-year period before a short stint that saw him eventually fired by Toronto earlier in the year.
Ralf Rangnick Start a Positive One
Manchester United’s first game under Ralf Rangnick started very impressively. The side were a freakish transformation on what we have been watching over the last few months. A real intent to press and disrupt Crystal Palace, who granted, did play right into United’s hands for much of the first half by continuing to play out from the back. But the intention of Rangnick’s team was clear, often setting up in a new (to United) 4-2-2-2 shape.
Already many of the players’ performances seemed a level up on their season so far and if anything, Cristiano Ronaldo was probably the most disappointing as nothing seemed to fall right for the Portuguese forward, who recently scored his 800th goal in professional football.
The team did get tired as the game went on and could not sustain their press for as long as they’d hoped, but that was inevitable with the lack of training time Rangnick has had with them so far and having played on Thursday, beating Arsenal 3-2.
Fred’s fantastic finish the icing on the cake as the United faithful welcomed Rangnick to Old Trafford.
Dalot Making Right-Back Spot His Own
Diogo Dalot replaced Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back v Arsenal and kept his place v Crystal Palace. Wan-Bissaka missed the Arsenal game with a hand injury and it would be unwise to suggest he’s going to walk right back into the team.
Dalot is showing some of his best form in a red shirt and appears more suited to Rangnick’s methods. It is still early days for Wan-Bissaka though, who will have to hope he is given a chance v Young Boys or faces having to make an impression on the training pitch.
The Young Boys fixture may allow Rangnick to rotate and rest a few players with United’s place in the knockout stages of the Champions League already secure.
Anthony Elanga’s Inclusion Important
Anthony Elanga is among the most talented youngsters within Manchester United’s academy setup. At 19-years-old, he has now made four appearances for the Red Devils and that looks set to increase.
Rangnick, just days after coming in, put Elanga in his squad and much to the surprise of almost everyone, turned to Elanga for his second substitution of the game v Palace – when United needed a goal!
That faith is what the club has always been about and if it continues they – and Elanga specifically- will relish these six months.
His appearance is not undeserved. Elanga scored the opener in a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of last season and looked as mature as any in pre-season, where he featured heavily. It’s disappointing that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only saw fit for him to feature the once this season – as a substitute in the Carabao Cup loss to West Ham United. He deserved better than that after the performance level he had shown when with the first team.
It’s understandable that Solskjaer often avoided using the younger players because every game was seen as a huge game – and they all are. Solskjaer wasn’t always brave enough to include United’s young stars in games where it really mattered and, let’s be honest, had he, and it not paid off, he’d have felt the brunt of it in the media and online in the hours following.
Rangnick came in, though, and put him straight in when it really mattered. A fantastic sign for United’s academy players and the club’s traditions. Elanga is said to have made an impression in training, earning his spot in the squad and subsequent substitute appearance.
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