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Ralf Rangnick not fully known at Man United in wake of his appointment

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Revealed: Ralf Rangnick an unknown quantity to at least one Man United player during managerial transition

Ralf who?

Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick may not have received the warm welcome he was expecting inside the Red Devils dressing room after he arrived as the temporary replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

The German tactician arrived from Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow where he was manager of sports and development after an influential managerial career that saw him posted at VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96, FC Schalke 04, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, and RB Leipzig after smaller postings in a career that began in 1983.

But according to ESPN senior writer Mark Ogden, at least one United player had never heard of Rangnick and resorted to googling the Backnang-native once his appointment was confirmed.

As Ogden states, it is entirely normal that players may not have heard of a particular manager or his achievements across football especially if they did not occur in-country. However, he also mentions that there could be – or currently still is – the possibility that Rangnick has been meant to convince the player(s) in question of what he brings to the table at Old Trafford.

United suffer first loss under Rangnick

If true, this could point to why the Red Devils have not truly hit the ground running under Rangnick since his arrival in the Premier League.

Revealed: Ralf Rangnick an unknown quantity to at least one Man United player during managerial transition

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 03: Joao Moutinho of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates with teammates Ruben Neves, Daniel Podence and Fabio Silva after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on January 03, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Though their loss against Bruno Lage’s Wolves yesterday was a first of the Rangnick regime in Manchester, the Red Devils have hardly performed at maximum capacity since he took up his position on the touchline.

A 3-1-1 record under Rangnick is credible and it has pushed United within earshot of a top-five place in the Premier League, but their performances have painted a picture of a side capable of nothing more than a mid-table finish.

Only once has United bagged more than a single goal in their appearances under Rangnick, and if the German is to – even temporarily – make the difference in the club fighting for Champions League, massive improvement is needed and soon.


This article was edited by
Josh Barker.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 21 40 53
2 Chelsea FC 21 29 43
3 Liverpool FC 20 34 42
4 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
5 West Ham United 20 10 34
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 19 3 31
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 19 0 28
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 19 0 27
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 20 -1 23
12 Brentford FC 19 -3 23
13 Aston Villa 19 -5 22
14 Southampton FC 19 -9 21
15 Everton FC 18 -9 19
16 Leeds United 19 -16 19
17 Watford FC 18 -14 13
18 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
19 Newcastle United 19 -23 11
20 Norwich City 19 -34 10
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 6
Jorginho Chelsea FC 6
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 6
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 6





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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

 

Premier League-chasing Manchester City have, on Thursday, been afforded an altogether timely double boost on the personnel front.

Pep Guardiola’s troops are of course primed to return to action in 72 hours’ time.

In the knowledge that a three-point haul will see them assured of back-to-back titles in the English top-flight, the Sky Blues are set to welcome Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to the Etihad, for a final day clash.

And, after stuttering to a 2-2 stalemate with West Ham last time out, City, this time round, will likely be considerably more confident in keeping their upcoming opponents at bay.

This comes owing to a pair of timely returns to fitness in the club’s first-team ranks.

As confirmed in a post across the Citizens’ social media platforms on Thursday, John Stones and Kyle Walker, both of whom were forced to sit out at the London Stadium owing to injury, have returned to training alongside the rest of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The two defenders, in turn, are expected to be available for selection this coming Sunday.

Wolves test

Turning attentions towards the other protagonist in the Premier League’s title race, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderer to Anfield this weekend, primed to take advantage of any potential slip-up on Man City’s part.

The Reds, amid an ongoing pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, currently sit just a point adrift of the table-topping Sky Blues.

This comes after Klopp and co, despite a whole raft of changes, emerged from a meeting with Southampton with a hard-fought 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

 

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

 

Word stemming from the Spanish media over the course of the last 24 hours points towards Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski inching ever closer to a move to Barcelona.

Speculation surrounding the future of Polish international Lewandowski has of course been rampant in the media for some time now.

This comes with the 33-year-old, fresh off another scintillating campaign in front of goal, eyeing a move away from Bavaria ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Speaking ahead of the club’s final Bundesliga outing of the season last weekend, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed as much, albeit whilst adding that Lewandowski is expected to see out the remaining year on his current contract:

To this point, the outfit most frequently tipped as a summer landing spot for Bayern’s star man have of course been Barcelona.

This comes with Xavi and co. understood to be highly appreciative of Lewandowski’s goalscoring talents, and evidently of the opinion that heading into the new season with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the club’s first-choice centre-forward is out of the question.

And, as alluded to above, if the latest rumours emanating from Spain are anything to go by, then the Blaugrana appear primed to imminently land their man.

As per transfer journalist Gerard Romero, Pini Zahavi, Lewandowski’s representative, was in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Not only that, but, during his trip, the super agent paid a visit to the club’s official store, to allegedly purchase no fewer than ten Barca jerseys, all with Lewandowski’s name emblazoned across the back.

Blues keen

Interestingly, word of Barcelona’s swoop for ‘Lewa’ inching ever closer comes fresh on the back of the 33-year-old being linked with a move to another of European football’s heavyweights just days ago.

The outfit in question? Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

 

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Chelsea ready to ‘complete’ first signing as soon as takeover is completed

 






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Jordan Ayew escapes punishment in reckless challenge against Everton

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Why Jordan Ayew was not sent off for ‘reckless’ challenge vs Everton

Iconic Premier League club Everton are in a fight for their lives in the top flight of English football coming into the final weekend of action in the 2021-22 season, and at the time of writing are hosting Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Goodison Park with anything less than a win set to subject the Toffees to a final day of action on Sunday that could consign them to relegation.

But Everton fans will undoubtedly feel aggrieved after Eagles forward Jordan Ayew escaped serious punishment after a reckless challenge on academy graduate Anthony Gordon right next to both dugouts during the first half of play.

Ayew was seen to hack down Gordon with a scissor motion while contesting possession and made no attempt to win the ball, with players on both sides losing their cool in the resulting scrum.

It could not have come at a worse time for Everton given the gravity of the evening, and though the Toffees have fought back to lead 3-2 at the time of writing after Jean-Philippe Mateta and the aforementioned Ayew gave the Eagles a two-goal lead ahead of Michael Keane, Richarlison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin bringing matters into Everton’s hands, the fact that the Premier League came out in response to state that the tackle was “reckless” but not worthy of a red card once against calls into question the FA and the inconsistent refereeing standards in the league.

If Ayew was correctly sent off given the video and picture evidence on hand, matters could well be different regardless of the fact that Everton have done incredibly well to fight back when it has mattered most.

With both teams now in stoppage time, it’s clear that the Toffees found fuel through injustice with their Premier League lives at stake.


This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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