While Arsenal flourish, Manchester United are flummoxed
There are some teams that do not appear to make much sense when you appraise the team versus their record. Arsenal are a prime example; the same can be said for Tottenham. Manchester United, however, are the strangest of the three.
They have so much talent and money. They have stars upon stars. They have Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, David DeGea, Harry McGuire, Raphael Varane, the list goes on and on. Yet they sit in seventh place as the Premier League season winds down.
They are not in Europe nor have they won any domestic trophy. They have a new coach in Ralf Rangnick who will soon be their old coach when he is replaced by Ajax’s Erik ten Hag. Rangnick has been on the job only part of the season after replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier this year. They will be lucky to get into the Europa Conference League next season and will more than likely look very different roster wise.
Manchester United are simply not very good, and everyone knows it — including the players themselves. Ronaldo will not be here next season, nor will Pogba and a whole host of names will follow them out of the door. The Red Devils will recoup funds on some of them, and won’t on others — that’s okay though, as they have enough resources to cover the differences.
Manchester United: No business being where they are on the table
This is not a club that will be competing for the top prizes for at least a year. United need to grow and develop under their new boss and they need to bring in players who will thrive in his system. Donny van de Beek will probably get an opportunity , and reports suggest Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong could join him as well.
Ten Hag will be able to land anyone he wishes, should they wish to even come to this disheveled club. They will, as the allure of the badge on the shirt and money in the bank are better incentives than most other things in this world.
Things will look, at times, like Arsenal has looked, but it appears the Gunners have finally gotten it right where United have struggled. Replacing a legendary coach is nothing easy, but patience and looking towards the next era of coaches is key in making the transition.
And United will make that transition, if they give their new boss time to adjust and build his project. What he has done with Ajax is legendary, and he will not soon be forgotten. What he will do at United remains to be seen, although it is possible he could become legendary amongst those fans as well by the time his tenure is over.
Or, it could all be a mess, as so many things regarding United have been since Fergie retired. This stumbling, disorganized and sad lot will have to hold off West Ham United and Wolves as the season nears its end. United are not going to finish fourth again, with fifth and sixth a more realistic scenario.
As the flip-flopping between Arsenal and Tottenham can testify, stranger things have happened. But with the team the way it is — full of talent yet without any connectivity or unity — they have little hope of finding either their form or a UCL bid for next season. They are full of names, but those names do not always either play or show up when needed. Until everyone is on the same page, they will not be worth the weight the crest represents.