Manchester United have found the next big partnership in Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani – Mike Parrott

Manchester United were finally able to return to winning after fighting under Ole Gunnar Solskjær over the last month.

When the Norwegian manager was stuck on the hot seat and on the verge of being fired on Monday 26 October, Solskjær had to pull the last ace out of his sleeve.

This ace, or aces, came in the form of a new formation and a new strike partnership that United fans had not yet seen; Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The idea behind these two players as a partnership has made a lot of sense on paper ever since Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford this summer. Ronaldo has always done his best job playing a striker, especially one who can cover for him in terms of pushing, dropping deep and keeping players away from him.

His strongest partnership was with Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, where Benzema sacrificed his goal scoring to do the little things for Ronaldo while breaking all the scoring records he could at all.

But people like Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez did the same for Ronaldo in his first term at United.

Both strikers were on goal list on Saturday, with Ronaldo and Cavani scoring the first two of United’s three against Tottenham, while Ronaldo also made his first assist for United since his summer arrival, putting Cavani to his first goal of the season.

The new 3-5-2 formation will have done wonders for the strike duo. Bruno Fernandes played deeper to connect the midfield and the attack and did not allow Ronaldo to fall deep to get on the ball. The addition that Fred and Scott McTominay could show more of their attacking abilities also helped, as McTominay set Ronaldo up for a goal that was unfortunately called offside.

The formation could certainly get the best out of the new strike partnership, but gives cause for concern.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: Edinson Cavani of Manchester United celebrates their second goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 30, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters / Manchester United via Getty Images)

Where would this system leave people like Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford?

The three-at-back formation could be adjusted to add at least one of these players as a “wing-back”, as Antonio Conte has done for years on his right side, but Solskjær’s system did not seem to be. willing to do as such.

wing-backs against Tottenham were unable to take full advantage of the freedom of attack they gained with the extra defensive strength behind them as cover.

In other famous three-by-back systems, wing-backs are usually seen as the primary, if not secondary, creators on the court.

This was not the case for United in north London and could certainly be improved by Solskjær or a new manager if he is unable to hold on to the Old Trafford manager role.

But with how well the attacking duo Ronaldo and Cavani played, adding more creativity from the wings would further increase their attacking yield as they were both incredible players with their heading and volleying abilities.

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This system still needs a lot of work and could be what United go to in the future if people like Conte, Brendan Rodgers or Mauricio Pochettino come in, but so far, and especially if Solskjær wants to keep his job at United, 3-5 -2 with the Ronaldo-Cavani partnership is a must.

When Cavani broke his duck for the season and Ronaldo in scoring form, this strike duo, armed with a new formation, could push United back higher up the table, where the talent of this team belongs.

Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani are the perfect match? Follow our United On My Mind Editor Mike Parrott on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.


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