Manchester United: the curtain falls on Old Trafford.

Image 1: Manchester United 0–5 Liverpool.

Squad imbalance.

The Manchester United squad is laughably unbalanced for a big club. This was before Solskjær. The imbalance was created due to the extreme shift between the philosophies of Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal. United were missing a Carrick like player and were not even planning to replace Carrick or had someone inline from the academy.

Why is Cristiano Ronaldo a problem?

The problem that people keep misunderstanding when we say Ronaldo is a big problem and the wrong signing isn’t to do Ronaldo, himself. It has to do with how it all ties up together as a team and how he complements the entire team.

Pressing

Last year, United’s press was not the best but it was still effective somewhat and they wanted to build on that. Solskjær wanted United to become ‘the hardest and most aggressive team’ in the league, well, you can’t do that with a non presser. What helped United mitigate the slight issues they had in pressing were 3 players (Daniel James, Edinson Cavani, and Anthony Martial), 1 left the club and 2 benched because Ronaldo’s status demand he plays every game.

Image 2: Bruno presses on his own and team realizes and follow late. from Eric Laurie

Defensive contributions…

Ronaldo’s defensive contributions and tracking backing are non existent but the problem here isn’t that only Ronaldo does it. It’s all of United's forwards. Note: please don’t say he ran after some guy all the way back, it was 5 seconds of a 95 minute match. He marks people at corners because that is the role given to him at corners. so please save me this and don’t be like twitter. A game consists of 2500 actions on average and an individual player has about 60 actions on average.

Image 3: from United’s wide forwards out of shape and position leaving space behind them. from @utdarena
Image 4: Again, United in what looks like 4–2–4 leaving the entire midfield for their double pivots. from Eric Laurie

The un-droppable status

Cristiano is regarded as one of the best goalscorers of all time. This comes with its privileges and problems. The privileges benefit him and the problems harm only the team around him. The benefit is Ronaldo is never dropped so he is happy. The problem here is there are many games that don’t suit him. The last few years, football saw a huge surge in pressing football and with someone at the age of 36, many games don’t suit Ronaldo.

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