Newcastle United, currently in a relegation fight, were left disappointed with just a point against Manchester United.
The Red Devils couldn’t handle Allan Saint-Maximin’s pace and directness, as the Frenchman put his side ahead with a wonderful individual goal in the opening minutes.
A little more composure in front of David de Gea’s goal early in the second-half could’ve doubled Newcastle’s lead and put the game out of the reach for the visitors. Nevertheless, United managed to rescue a point through Edinson Cavani’s goal in the 71st minute.
Ralf Rangnick’s men were dominated by Newcastle in all departments, as they struggled to string passes together. The likes of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford kept losing the ball throughout the night. However, much of that sloppiness could’ve been also due the short turnaround time to adapt to the German tactician’s approach of swiftly hitting teams after winning the ball.
His preferred 4-2-2-2 formation has allowed both Norwich and Newcastle to remain very narrow, leaving no space for United’s playmakers to create chances. Getting used to such a drastic change from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 setup is a big ask on the players, and could force Rangnick to find a middle ground.
According to The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell, the former RB Leipzig man isn’t ‘wedded’ to his formation and could switch to a 3-4-1-2.
The width of the team will still be maintained by the full-backs, but a back three will ensure they can stay up the field to stretch the opposition’s backline on a consistent basis.
Whatever the formation, the 63-year-old needs to get the best out of his star players quickly, or United could lose ground in the race to qualify for the Champions League next season.