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Stat proves Rangnick’s arrival may already be having an impact on Ronaldo

By Conor Laird Published: December 3, 2021 3:44 pm

Last Updated: December 3, 2021 3:46 pm

A statistic doing the rounds in the aftermath of Manchester United’s win over Arsenal bodes altogether well for the relationship of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ralf Rangnick.

Ronaldo at the double United of course marked their return to action on Thursday night.

After overseeing a Champions League downing of Villarreal, followed by a commendable point against table-topping Chelsea last time out, caretaker Red Devils boss Michael Carrick welcomed Arsenal to Old Trafford, no doubt desperate to maintain his fine record in the dugout ahead of Ralf Rangnick’s imminent arrival.

And, when all was said and done, this is precisely what Carrick, and United, managed.

An end-to-end affair, during which Arsenal, in truth, could easily have secured a share of the spoils, ultimately played out into a 3-2 victory for the hosts.

Cristiano Ronaldo proved the star of the show, netting a brace (including his 800th career goal) to add to Bruno Fernandes’ first club goal since September late in the first-half.

COOL. CALM. CRISTIANO.

Ronaldo smashes Man Utd into the lead from the spot! #PLonPrime #MUNARS pic.twitter.com/lJBCwFzOoS

— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 2, 2021

CR7 leads from the front As alluded to above, though, it was not Ronaldo’s latest efforts in front of goal which likely brought the most joy to his new manager on Thursday night.

Instead, this came in the form of the veteran attacker’s efforts off the ball.

Ralf Rangnick is of course renowned for his high-press based system on the pitch, an aspect of the German’s setup which had led to some expressing concern with exactly where Ronaldo would fit in.

But, up against Arsenal, the Portuguese provided the latest instillation on the bench at Old Trafford with a timely reminder that, when required, he remains more than capable of heaping off-ball pressure on opposing backlines.

This comes with Ronaldo, as revealed by statisticians Opta, having managed 27 pressures across the 90 minutes, his most in any Premier League outing this season.

27 – Cristiano Ronaldo made 27 pressures last night against Arsenal, his most in any league game this season, previously averaging 14.4 per 90. He made 16 pressures in the attacking third, more than five times as many as in his previous league start against Watford (3). Ralf. pic.twitter.com/9MLn1c3v5f

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 3, 2021

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