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Michael Owen expects Man Utd flaw will remain in first Rangnick match prediction

Steve Pearson
BT Sport pundit Michael Owen

Michael Owen has predicted exactly what will happen in Manchester United’s first match with Ralf Rangnick in charge.

The German, 63, has been drafted in as the interim manager of Manchester United. Rangnick has cultivated a stellar reputation within the game, drawing high praise from the likes of Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp upon who he has been an influential figure in their careers.

When the season concludes, Rangnick is expected to move upstairs into a consultancy role. But in the meantime, his sole focus will be on correcting the course of United’s ailing season.

Indeed, the Red Devils look set to be embroiled in a fierce scrap for fourth spot. Picking up three points against Crystal Palace on Sunday will cut the gap to West Ham to three points, and resolving the club’s defensive woes will be key to Rangnick’s chances of success.

Indeed, Rangnick has already stressed the importance of plugging United’s leaky defence.

“The major target for me in the next couple of weeks is just to bring more balance into the team,” said Rangnick (via the Manchester Evening News).

“Even yesterday [against Arsenal], we conceded two goals and needed three goals, in the end, to win the game.

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“If you look at the total number of goals conceded, it is almost two, on average, per game, and this is just too much.”

Now, former Liverpool and United striker, Michael Owen, has predicted what will unfold on Sunday.

Owen expects United to concede once again. However, he predicted United will emerge victorious after an almighty struggle against Patrick Vieira’s impressive Eagles.

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“The main man, Cristiano Ronaldo, again stole the headlines with his 800th and 801st career goals in the win against Arsenal,” said Owen (via the Mirror).

“It will be very interesting to see how Ralf Rangnick gets on as the United boss and how he manages Ronaldo.

“That’s now two defeats in a row for Palace. They had a few chances against Leeds on Tuesday but to concede in the last minute must be a tough one to take.

“Palace have given the top sides some problems this season, and I don’t think this will be easy for United. I think they will have just too much though, 2-1.”


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Rangnick has four defence-solving targets in mind

Meanwhile, Rangnick will reportedly make defensive improvements his No 1 priority. As such, he has four January targets in mind.

Rangnick’s main target this season will be to secure a top-four finish. They are battling West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham in what is likely to be a keenly-fought fight.

And Rangnick knows his side need more solid options in the heart of defence if they are to achieve that aim. As such, the Daily Express has identified four players Rangnick will target.

Top of his list is likely to be Sevilla’s Jules Kounde. The Frenchman is on Chelsea’s list of targets and has previously been linked with United. A huge release clause of £68m, though, makes any move for Kounde a costly one.

Instead, the Express claims Rangnick could also move for Sven Botman. The Lille defender has been watched by Tottenham and Liverpool previously.

The paper also names Matthijs De Ligt as a potential option, along with the more cost-friendly Josko Gvardiol.

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