Tonight brings arguably Manchester United’s most important game of the season so far as they host Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford in the second leg of their Champions League tie, and it’s all to play for after a 1-1 stalemate in Madrid.
This season has been yet another disappointment for fans with the side crashing out of both domestic competitions earlier than planned and are now in a very tight top-four race that could see the side end the season without a Champions League qualification spot in the Premier League, only heightening the desperation for progression in the European competition now.
With that being said, Ralf Rangnick must impose their best-attacking threats on their opponents to not only get an early lead in front of their home fans but to see out the game comfortably and with confidence. Therefore, the German coach must not ignore how out of form some of the players are currently and select those who have made an impact in the last few weeks.
The player who has put Manchester United in the position of power going into this decider tie is Anthony Elanga, who scored the equaliser in the final moments of the first game away at the Metropolitano Stadium, giving the team the crucial lifeline they needed ahead of their game at Old Trafford.
It’s very clear that Marcus Rashford is out of form for the Red Devils and Rangnick must realise that starting the struggling winger could be more of a hindrance than a help against the Spanish side this evening, especially since he hasn’t scored since January. Albeit more experienced in these pressured games, swapping out the 24-year-old for a young, goal-hungry Elanga would be more advantageous for the team.
The 19-year-old attacker who was hailed a “dream come true” by his manager Rangnick, has scored twice now in the last couple of weeks for Manchester United during a combined total of 38 minutes on the pitch. That is extremely impressive for the £3.6m-rated young talent and shouldn’t be overlooked by the manager when he makes his team selection today.
Crashing out of the Champions League would be the final nail in the coffin of a disastrous season for Man United, and considering the team are playing at home in the final leg, Rangnick is under huge amounts of pressure to deliver in the decider. If he doesn’t the side could be in a sticky situation when it comes to European football next term.