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OPINION: One aspect of Ronaldo's game that cost United in the UCL and could affect them further


Manchester United fans were ecstatic when the club revealed at the start of the season that they had agreed to resign former striker Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus on a two-year agreement. The Old Trafford club began their season with a win over Leeds United at home, followed by a point at Southampton and a clean sheet at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Ronaldo was back and ready to make his second debut when they returned from the international break. He started against Newcastle United and scored a brace before scoring against Young Boys during the week. United lost the game despite being reduced to ten men before halfway. While Ronaldo appears to have hit the ground running, his overall contributions to the team mean that they must suffer as a result. As a result, we'll look at one aspect of his game that cost United during the week and could further derail their season.

Cristiano Ronaldo has given Manchester United one thing he can always count on: goals. For a 36-year-old player, three goals in two games is not terrible. However, Ronaldo's participation does not appear to have had a significant impact on the team's balance. Most Premier League clubs currently set up their teams to attack and press from the front, which allows them to close down spaces and protect their midfield; but, Manchester United does not have that with Ronaldo as a number nine.

In fact, United lacked a good fulcrum around which to build their assaults in the game against Young Boys due to Ronaldo's weak pressing, minimal movement, and low intensity. Also, while one could argue that United's equalizer was a collective blunder, it should be emphasized that it all started with Ronaldo walking back out of position, creating a large opening for Young Boys' equalizer Moumi Ngamaleu to gallop across the pitch. He passed the ball to midfield, continued running, and placed the finishing touch on a low cross seconds later.

Because United's midfield is one of their weak spots, one method they might defend it is to restrict access to that section of the field. However, due of Ronaldo's poor pressing, their midfield will be exposed even more, which could have an impact on them going forward because it means they will struggle against teams that defend deep and attack on the counter.

Nobody doubts Ronaldo's goal-scoring talent, but football nowadays, especially in the Premier League, is about more than just scoring goals; strikers must also press from the front, which Ronaldo may not want to do, further jeopardizing United's season.

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