Manchester United’s miserable record against the top-four continued after they limped to a disappointing 3-1 defeat against Arsenal on Saturday – which means that Michael Carrick is the only United manager to take any points off of the Premier League’s big-hitters this season.
United travelled to the Emirates Stadium with their top-four hopes hanging by a thread. However, they succumbed to their second heavy defeat in a week, with goals from Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka enough to effectively kill United’s season. Cristiano Ronaldo briefly gave the visitors hopes after halving a two-goal deficit before the break.
The result leaves Arsenal on the brink of ending their multi-year exile from the Champions League at United’s expense. For United – and the club’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick – it was another sorry afternoon against the one of the Premier League’s top teams.
After the match, a stat shared by journalist Richard Jolly underlined just how badly United have fared against the league’s top teams this season. Carrick – who had a brief three-match tenure in charge after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked earlier in the season – is the only Manchester United manager this season who has managed to take any points off of the current top-four.
Carrick guided United to a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before signing off in a style with a 3-2 win in the reverse fixture with the Gunners. However, he decided to walk away from the club shortly after Rangnick was confirmed as the club’s new interim manager. He also guided United to a crucial win over Villarreal in the Champions League.
While Rangnick’s arrival was hailed as something of a coup for United, he has failed to engineer the upturn in form that was expected. And the diligent German coach has come in for fierce criticism from a number of pundits during his brief but uninspiring spell at Old Trafford.
It was revealed earlier this week that Rangnick only has a ‘verbal agreement’ for the two-year consultancy role that he was mooted to move into at the end of the season – and the final decision on the 63-year-old’s future will rest with United’s new manager, Erik ten Hag.
And with Rangnick’s future uncertain, Rio Ferdinand took a shot at the United chief by brutally claiming that the problems at the club have gotten even worse since the ex-RB Leipzig coach took charge. Ferdinand told BT Sport after Saturday’s defeat: “Being brutally honest, Rangnick has come in and it has got worse.”
And the former United defender conceded that United’s season is over after their defeat against the Gunners. He added: “Yeah, that is it for the top four. Manchester United have absolutely no chance, it’s done.”