18.11.2021 » Can Ronaldo help Man United turn things around?
Since his second debut with the club, things have not quite gone to plan at Manchester United. Cristiano Ronaldo made his second debut for the club, scoring twice in a comfortable home victory against Newcastle United as they ran out 4-1 winners. This result threatened to deceive as United moved to the top of the table on goal difference that day, picking up 10 points from their opening four fixtures of the season. Since then, United have only picked up a further seven points from their next seven fixtures, losing at home to Liverpool and Manchester City along the way as well as suffering defeats at Leicester and Aston Villa. They have only picked up four points from their last five fixtures - a 3-0 victory at struggling Spurs the only win since beating West Ham on 19 September. Despite this terrible run of form, however, Ronaldo has still been in sparkling form, scoring nine goals in all competitions so far this season, with five of those coming in four Champions League fixtures. So, can Ronaldo help to turn things around for United this season?
Cristiano Ronaldo - World class:
Early season form
Manchester United fans probably have to accept the truth that despite bringing in a number of high-profile signings in the summer, including Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Rafael Varane, they are still the fourth-best team in the Premier League this season.
As a squad, they are in a very different place to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City who have spent years building up their squads. United's squad is still developing and despite spending millions of pounds, it is still missing some key elements especially in defence.
Chelsea now have a squad capable of competing with Liverpool and Manchester City this season and the signing of Romelu Lukaku could be the final piece of the jigsaw that sees them competing for the title again this season.
After 11 rounds of the season, Chelsea sits on top of the pile with 8 wins, 2 draws and just one defeat. Manchester City sits in second place and Liverpool are in fourth. West Ham have been the surprise package of the season so far, beating Liverpool last time out to inflict their first defeat of the season.
Perhaps the one area where United fall some way behind their three main competitors is their manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was brought in as a caretaker manager following the dismissal of José Mourinho and, after a fine run of results, was handed the permanent manager position in March 2019.
Up until that point, his managerial career had never really kicked off. An unsuccessful spell with Cardiff in 2014 saw him return to his native Norway in 2015 to manage his former side Molde where second-place was his best season in charge.
Despite leading United to second-place in the Premier League in 2020-21, Sojskjaer still lacks the experience at the very top level and many question whether he is the right man to take United forward.
With the wealth of talent at his disposal, he is yet to get the best out of them this season, however, despite this, he still only sits five points behind Liverpool in fourth place so all is not lost so early in the season.
Chelsea made a big move halfway through last season when they sacked inexperienced manager and former player Frank Lampard, bringing in the highly experienced and successful Thomas Tuchel. Many feel that Tuchel is the missing piece of the jigsaw and after a strong finish to the season last year, he has really kicked on and made the squad his own.
Liverpool and Manchester City both have managers who, as well as being serial winners, have also been in their current positions for a number of years. Jurgen Klopp took over at Liverpool in 2015 and has since brought much success to the team including a first league title in over 30 years in 2020. At Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has been in charge since 2016, winning his first league title with them in 2018, the domestic treble in 2019 and then bringing the title home again in 2021.
You have to question whether any of these three managers would get more out of the Manchester United squad that is undoubtedly full of talent.
Ronaldo to the rescue
It is still very early days for United and for Ronaldo and his early-season form, especially in the Champions League where he has scored late goals in three out of four matches so far, suggest that United will still be challenging for the Champions League places come the end of the season.
What remains to be seen is whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will still be at the wheel, or whether United will turn to a more experienced hand to try and manage their squad of superstars.
Ronaldo is a born winner and his drive and professionalism will ensure he will not give up on this season without a fight. Whilst the title may already seem out of reach, Man United still have plenty to play for and you wouldn't put it past them to have a great run in the Champions League this season - a tournament that Ronaldo has always excelled in - and that could be the catalyst to save their season.
United are currently 17.00 with Betway to lift the Champions League this season with Ronaldo at 9.00 to finish as the top scorer.
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Manchester United is on November 20, against Watford. You can watch Watford vs Man United, PSG vs Nantes, Barça vs Espanyol, Leicester City vs Chelsea, Liverpool vs Arsenal, and Augsburg vs Bayern Munchen, all matches provided from our live streaming game pages.
Manchester United next game:
Watford vs Manchester United kick-off time (20-11-2021):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 22:00
Jakarta (Indonesia) | UTC/GMT+7: 21:00
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 19:30
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+1: 16:00
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 16:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 15:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 12:00
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 11:00
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 08:00
Sources: ronaldo7.net / bbc.com / espn.com / theguardian.com