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Staff Takeaways: Manchester United 3-2 Norwich City

Manchester United v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Colin- Win, by any means necessary

Manchester United once again won in spite of themselves, and it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals that did the job on Saturday. As ugly as the football is, it is still a win that comes with a lot at stake. The rest of the league hasn’t had too much trouble figuring out United, and the latest injuries to Fred and Scott McTominay have just made a bad midfield situation much worse. If Norwich can exploit it you can bet that Liverpool certainly will. Shaw likely out for some extra time as well, and Cavani just a passenger at this point. United are thin, and they need to get key performances from players that haven’t been able to get going consistently all season. But Norwich showed at least one avenue of doing so.

At this point the matches will not have much effect on the club’s plans in the summer. They’re committing to a change in vision and long term planning by bringing in Erik ten Hag to operate with Ralf Rangnick. Several players won’t fit that vision, and are playing like they know they won’t be here, but it’s impossible to do a total overhaul. Today’s win showed that desperate times call for desperate measures, and though he has been bad for the club and the team Ronaldo dragged the team to a win at Old Trafford, repeating his hat trick heroics from the Spurs game a few weeks back.

It’s no secret we’re not all fans of Ronaldo on this site. Outside of football and on the pitch he’s not the kind of player this club should have brought in, and they are living in the consequences of that transfer decision. Still, the current side is shaped around his presence up top, and if they are to claw back into the top 4 it’ll almost certainly depend on his ability to convert chances like he did today. There is still (somehow) hope of Champions League football thanks to the dependable bottlers that are Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs. Still, if they can only barely get past arguably the worst team in the Premier League at home, it’ll be a tough ask to get wins out of the next 6 matches, which include trips to Anfield and the Emirates as well as a visit from Chelsea. It’s win by any means necessary at this point, let’s hope the team has the means of doing so.