Manchester United continue to complicate their season, as they failed to win in their first match in 18 days. Ralf Rangnick’s side drew 1-1 against Leicester City on Saturday at Old Trafford, losing two valuable points in the race for a top four finish. The Foxes earned the lead after 63 minutes as former Man City striker Kelechi Iheanacho made the most out of James Maddison’s assist. Just three minutes later, Fred managed to salvage an equaliser, with Maddison’s later goal being overturned by VAR.
Here is what we learned from this tricky point Man United earned.
Rangnick Makes Changes
There were unexpected changes in Ralf Rangnick’s starting XI for this match. Most notably, Cristiano Ronaldo was not part of the matchday squad, as the Portuguese was ill and unavailable to help his teammates. The manager chose Bruno Fernandes to start as the false nine, the same way he did against Manchester City. Elanga was given a chance on the right flank, Pogba was the classic number 10, while Harry Maguire moved from left centre-back to right centre-back, in order to simplify his struggling game. In the end, none of the changes worked. Bruno was better as the false striker than against City, but seemed to move too much into wide left areas, ultimately stiffling Sancho’s space on that flank.
United Concede Too Easily
The goal Manchester United conceded midway through the second half was a good indication of how things are going in this team. From a well defended corner and a decent attempt for a counter-attack, it turned out to be another attack for Leicester just second’s later, with Maddison’s long range cross falling to Iheanacho on the far post. First, it was Pogba who failed to put any pressure on Maddison ahead of his cross, and then it was Alex Telles who lost his player and allowed him to latch onto the cross with a diving header. It is these details that often make the difference.
Manager Does Not Believe In Rashford
This match was another indication of what kind of situation Marcus Rashford currently is at Old Trafford. Rangnick snubbed him, proving once again that he does not trust him enough, as he opted for Bruno Fernandes in attack. Things could have been different some months ago, with Rashford simply starting as a sole striker in the absence of both Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani. But these days, Rashford cannot warrant himself a start in neither of the three attacking positions, as Sancho and Elanga are both ahead of him on the wings, with Fernandes getting the advantage even in a position so unfamiliar to him.
Man United Drifting Away From Top Four Finish
Manchester United have won just two of their five matches, winning eight out of 15 possible points, ultimately losing ground again on Arsenal, Tottenham and now even West Ham. United dropped to seventh place – although they have a game in hand compared to the Hammers – but both Arsenal and Spurs are in a commanding position to fight for the Champions League qualifications. With just eight games left in the campaign, United must start winning regularly.