It goes without saying that Manchester United are in shambles at the moment, given their rich history, a loaded arsenal of high-profile players and the expectations of supporters from the world over. Their Premier League campaign has seen them fall to the 7th position this season, behind the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
Having recently parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United are looking to overcome the demons of their past but have been unsuccessful so far, even after the appointment of German tactician Ralf Ragnick, who has been present for just half a dozen games now.
However, the Red Devils are well in contention for the UEFA Champions League this season – that is, if they pick themselves up from the slump they are currently in. With half the current season already in the past, it is a good time to predict the giants’ fortunes next season.
A decent indication would be to figure out the factors that would play an important role in Manchester United’s quest for a European spot next season – except if they surprisingly manage to oust the other heavyweights in contention for the continental title.
Cristiano Ronaldo ’s return warranted some hope for United at the start of the season, but the club’s problem seems deeper than the presence of one man, irrespective of his stature as a football legend. Things have gone somewhat out of hand at Old Trafford, given the Red Devils’ inconsistent displays across all competitions
He has already been accused of ‘causing a lot of problems’ at the club, according to former player Trevor Sinclair, who also mentioned that his ex-club Manchester City dodged a bullet by not signing the legendary striker during the last summer transfer window.
Although he has banged in an impressive 14 goals and provided 3 assists in 22 matches across all competitions since making his sensational return to Old Trafford, Ronaldo has been accused of gaining all the attention – overshadowing fellow personnel, both the manager and the players.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer departed his seat from the dugout after a string of disappointing displays that dictated the end of his Old Trafford reign, even though he did manage to squeeze out a decent win percentage of 54% during his three-year stint. His tactics and man management skills were undoubtedly not of the highest quality, as he was on occasion accused of giving too much leeway to his players.
In stark contrast, Ralf Ragnick’s presence as the interim coach is predicted to bring in some structure to the dressing room. The German tactician has managed just six matches so far, making any judgement premature.
However, a string of changes when it comes to playing style has been implemented by the former RB Leipzig coach. Tactical changes by Ragnick, such as high pressing and three-at-the-back defensive lines could be the norm going forward if the German is still in-charge until the end of the season.
The main problem that lies within the United squad is coherency. The lack of a team spirit coupled with a fog of clarity when it comes to playing style has turned Manchester United into a team seeking identity.
It is no secret that the fans are frustrated at how the Red Devils are operating through games – displaying signs of lack of will and no clarity functioning as a unit.
The Red Devils face Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 encounter. Although they managed to pull through the group stages – credit to Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroic performances against Villareal and Atalanta – one cannot foresee the Manchester natives going all the way to the final of the continental tournament.
According to football betting sites, United are well in contention to land in the top four places by the end of the Premier League campaign and contest in next season’s Champions League tournament. With the aforementioned resource, one can gain a deeper understanding of betting markets from across the world and an insight as to how placing one’s hand works