Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United this summer caused a lot of excitement among his fans – but he conceded a string of important goals – but the part is very good without him, huh?
In one of the biggest signings in the Premier League, the now 36-year-old jewel returns from Juventus this summer, just days before trying to join rivals Manchester City.
But after scoring four points in his first three games, he has only scored two of the other six – although both have won the Champions League this season – against Villarreal and Atalanta.
United have reformed their style of play after five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under great pressure, with his teammates looking for a more famous 5-0 at home to Liverpool.
Former Juventus midfielder Leonardo Bonucci thinks Juventus would be the best team without him and former Liverpool and Scotland boss Graeme Souness doesn’t believe he should be an automatic starter at United.
What is it doing right?
Ronaldo’s three points in six Premier League games – two in the first against Newcastle and one against West Ham in the second – have been a huge success, but by his standards, it’s not that great.
2006-07 was the last time he finished a game 50% or less, his fourth season at United when he scored 17 goals in 34 games.
This made him the third most limited player in the Premier League, with Didier Drogba winning 20 boots for the Golden Boot.
It was still early days, but 14 players have scored more Premier League goals this season, including Wolves’ Hwang Hee-chan and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr.
Instead, his hero has entered the Champions League, a competition since becoming the best goalkeeper in 137 years.
The last two contestants make the difference between the United teams who raise to six points and drop to three points from the first two.
He has a total of six points after scoring for Manchester United at 124 although he has 450 goals for Real Madrid, 115 world records for Portugal, 101 for Juventus, and five for Sporting Lisbon.
He is playing as of late number nine, as he has been doing for years now – a far cry from the crooked finger England fans had seen earlier when he arrived from Sporting.
For Premier League touchdowns he is ranked 216 and 243 but for opponents’ touchdowns, he is 16th and 39th together.
Ronaldo has the eighth highest score in the Premier League this season (25), with United teammates Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes at the top. This is the ninth joint in terms of color and purpose (nine).
“He will score goals and inspire the crowd, but I don’t think he can make any plays,” Sky Sports expert Souness said.
“I take it, but the conversation should be ‘you won’t start any games but you will have a bigger impact in nine months”.
And the impact on the environment?
Well, not the best. His numbers are impressive, especially he is impressive even though he has never played the game him.
Across the Premier League, only one away player – except for those who scored in under 15 minutes – has beaten Ronaldo 0.74 less successfully at 90 minutes this season and that is Everton Mason’s defender. Holgate.
Ronaldo is 384th in terms of engine strokes in the 90th minute and 385th for the winner. About 429 players, including guards, did not play in the Premier League today.
In comparison, Edinson Cavani – who in the past made 26 Premier League appearances for United – makes 3.86 hits every 90 minutes.
ESPN writer Mark Ogden said: “What has changed this season is Ronaldo. They have a man up front who doesn’t do a lot of work.
“Cavani manages everything. He runs lost, keeps the audience and his team going. If Ronaldo isn’t there, United is a team player.”
“If you show Ronaldo, what kind of game is he? Where’s the balance? You get Ronaldo [if he is. Getting some people behind it will do the job.”
Ronaldo has won just three of his three Premier League appearances this season, playing 48 passes in half his career.
Also for overall crosses, he is bottom of the list: 208th with 169 (143 wins) and 195 players who completed more than two dribbles.
How did that change United’s overall game?
There have been some stark differences in the way United has played this season: they are moving forward; they have put up many crosses, but they move small.
“He can [rightly] claim to be the best runner, but how can you make Manchester United a better team? No,” Souness said after Liverpool’s win.
Ronaldo won Serie A in his first two seasons at Juventus, but last year only finished in the top four, ending his nine-year reign as a con artist.
Juve defender Bonucci said: “Last year, the team played for him. Now the team has to rediscover the Juventus spirit that was there before he arrived.”
Former United footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger said: “I believe Leonardo Bonucci and Juventus would not have done well without Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Wherever Ronaldo goes is the main goal, if you watch Juventus before he goes there, they act as one and as an XI.”
United is seventh in the Premier League with 14 points after nine games, eight more than Chelsea.
Last time they picked up 16 points at this level, but in ninth place as many other teams have gone up to other games.
But they should have improved this season when they signed Real Madrid striker Raphael Varane, England’s Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, and Ronaldo.
The Red Devils have started the Champions League season like last season, leading their team to six points in three games.
There is a big difference in the way they have played this season and how Ronaldo has changed their game.
United have made more crosses this season than in the past with the famous Ronaldo on the air.
They have gone from season 17 last season to season 7 in terms of open-air cross-country skiing. The team average was 11.2 in 2020-21 and has now reached 14.2.
However, Ronaldo has yet to make an impressive start to the Premier League season, despite the Champions League win over Atalanta.
United is worse than this season and the system is reversed, their immediate focus is from the front. They were ranked 2nd in last year’s top 20, but this time they are in seventh place.
They had risen from the eighth to the twelfth tier in terms of passing opponents who were allowed to take countermeasures, meaning they were getting worse at the rate that they prevented the opponent’s movement.
With a dramatic turnaround, United is attacking more quickly this season than last season.
They are top of the Premier League for the longest-serving team in the league – rising from seventh to second in terms of how the team started in open play.
Solskjaer’s team also excels in attack and direct pace.
However, former England international Karen Carney doesn’t think his playing style has changed much.
“They tried to change the way they played [recently] – not just Ronaldo. United have a good record of weakness and his little logic,” he said.
Souness said: “They have a problem because they can’t call on Ole as much as they want.
“He’s not going to give you that, so they’re going to be a different kind of football – How he doesn’t want to play.”
United have covered more of their opponents in each of the six games Ronaldo has played in the Premier League since his return, but this was also true for two of the three games before his debut.
There is no doubt that Ronaldo has changed Manchester United this season and as Solskjaer is under pressure because he thinks their form can change, Norwegians can examine these stats and wonder if the team put on a better back display than a bad one.