Cristiano Ronaldo made his re-debut for Manchester United against Newcastle in the Premier League. He did so in front of an alive and sold-out Old Trafford filled with Manchester United fans. Due to the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, many fans who supported the club sat in front of their television. This is because they had a feeling that history is repeating in front of their eyes and they could relive that moment again.
Previously when Cristiano Ronaldo had played against Newcastle, he had registered his only hattrick for Manchester United. Well while coming multiple times close to this feat again during this game. One could notice the changes Cristiano Ronaldo has in his game compared to 10 years ago
How did Cristiano Ronaldo play in the Number 9 position against Newcastle?
During the match, it was noticed that Ronaldo only pressed when the ball was close to him. While during the defensive transition, Ronaldo could be in an offside position instead of trying to mark a centre back. The moments where one could see Cristiano Ronaldo Touch the ball in the defensive half can be counted on one’s hand. According to whoscored, Ronaldo made touch with the ball 4 times in the defensive half.
While looking at the heat map of his average positions during the game, Ronaldo was mostly around the left half of the pitch. This displays his tendency to drift wide to make diagonal runs into the penalty box. While a majority of the touches made by him were in the left half of the pitch, he only took one shot from outside the box. For most of the shots taken within the penalty box must be stated only two were on target.
There was another stat that caught many off guards. During the match, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t even attempt to make a dribble with the ball. This shows a trend that could be seen while he played in Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo, if possible, tried his best to stay away from the build-up phase of an attack. Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t drop deep to pick up the ball a lot against Newcastle.
What Should Manchester United Keep In Mind During Their Upcoming Fixtures?
Due to the likes of a player like Matic in the squad, players like Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes were given the freedom to explore the half-spaces on the pitch. The change in the system, helped Paul Pogba to explore more of his creative side. This could be seen with him providing 2 assists during the game. While Bruno had to adapt and play mostly outside the penalty box and take long shots. While Bruno scored the third goal in the game. It must be noted that Manchester united attempted 23 crosses during the game as well. While most targeted for Ronaldo, this must be another modification done by the team to provide Cristiano Ronaldo.