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Can Ronaldo’s influence help turn around Manchester United’s 2021/2022 trophy hopes?

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Everything changed when Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United. Although it came after Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane had landed at Old Trafford, it’s the Ronaldo signing that tilted the scales in United’s favor.

He didn’t take long to showcase his qualities, scoring twice in Manchester United’s 4-1 win against Newcastle. He scored again as Manchester United lost 2-1 to Young Boys at the Stade de Suisse in Switzerland and on the following match day as Manchester United came back from behind to brush aside West Ham United.

It was then that all punters realized the man was back on a mission. Every bookmaker and casino player began to take Manchester United more seriously. By the way, you can also back United and enjoy casino games conveniently on your smartphone at the comfort of your sofa. It’s very easy. Find out more here.

The start of the downtrend

Anyway, things haven’t been so good since then. After beating West Ham in the league on September 19, Manchester United has only won two games in seven – both in the UEFA Champions League. Both wins were also at home.

First, they beat Villareal 2-1, coming from behind after Paco Alcacer put Villareal ahead in the 53rd minute. Telles scored the equalizing goal with a tasty half volley in the 60th minute before Cristiano sealed the comeback in the 95th minute.

United was also forced to come from behind against Atalanta. In fact, this time, they came back from two-nil down. Palasic put Atalanta ahead in the 15th minute before Demiral doubled Atalanta’s lead in the 28th minute.

But Manchester United put up a big fight in the second half, scoring three goals over 30 minutes to claim all three points. Rashford opened United’s scoring in the 53rd minutes before Harry Maguire drew his team level in the 75th minute. As it’s become the norm, Cristiano scored the winning goal nine minutes from full time, putting Manchester United ahead for the first time in the game. The game ended 3-2 in favor of Manchester United.

Unfortunately, the two wins are sandwiched between five losses and a draw, meaning that Manchester United has only won twice in the last eight games.

First, they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup after a 0-1 loss to West Ham in the Third Round. Manuel Lanzini’s goal in the 9th minute was enough to secure victory for the Hammers.

Ronaldo didn’t play in the Carabao Cup loss. However, he was on the pitch for 90+ minutes as Manchester United lost to Aston Villa three days later. Villa scored in the 88th minute to take all three points.

The Aston Villa loss was followed by the win at Villareal, a 1-1 draw at Everton on October 2, then a 4-2 loss away at Leicester. Ronaldo played in all three games but only scored in the Villareal game. United’s goal in the 1-1 draw at Everton came from Antony Martial while Greenwood and Rashford scored the two goals in the defeat to Leicester.

However, Cristiano was back among the scorers when United hosted Atalanta at Old Trafford on October 20. But he, and the entire Manchester United team, again went into hiding at Anfield, losing 5-0 to a rampant Liverpool side four days later.

Can Ronaldo put the team back in contention for major honors?

It’s anyone’s guess. From the small sample of games, it’s clear that Manchester United will need the six-times Ballon d’Or winner at his best to get anything from the 2021/2022 season. But, looking at the results, it’s also evident that Solskjaer’s men need a lot more than Ronaldo’s magic to get anything this season.

First, everyone can see that Ronaldo still scores goals – and important ones at that. He’s scored point-earning goals in several games he’s started this season, winning Manchester United the Villareal and Atalanta games at the death. He’ll likely win them many others over the season.

However, the nature of Manchester United’s wins is very worrying. The team has had to come back from behind in more than half of their games this season. Even against Leeds, when they won by a four-goal margin, they let Leeds back into the game soon after opening the scoring.

 A key trait of recent champions, whether in the Premier League or Europe, is that they control games better. Champions almost always score first and hold onto the lead for large swathes of the game. More importantly, recent champions have kept a clean sheet in around half their games over a season. For instance, Manchester City had 19 clean sheets last season.

United is already lagging with just one clean sheet this season while Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City have six each.  

Summary 

There’s still a lot of time. Heck, it’s just nine games into the season, and United are top of their Champions’ League Group. So, anything is possible. However, Cristiano and his team must pick up the pace soon for any rewards at the end of the season.

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