Rangnick explains why Bruno Fernandes took penalty v Arsenal instead of Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United’s penalty miss against Arsenal was costly. With the score 2-1 to the Gunners, United were on the comeback after initially trailing 2-0.
A second half penalty came at the end of a spell of United dominance early in the second half, and a chance to tie the game at 2-2.
Cristiano Ronaldo already had scored one, it seemed likely he would take the penalty as he did against Arsenal earlier in the season.
Bruno Fernandes stepped up instead, and missed, sending Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way but hitting the post. Arsenal scored a third goal minutes later.
It is easy to be wise after the event, but even at the time it seemed odd Ronaldo wasn’t taking it.
Ronaldo was on a hot streak, while Fernandes was cold. His penalty technique also requires a level of confidence to pull off, which he did not have.
A second goal could have propelled United to another win, and Ronaldo towards another hat-trick, so why didn’t he take it.
Why Ronaldo did not take the penalty
Ralf Rangnick spoke to Talksport after the game and explained it was the players’ choice, and hinted Ronaldo chose not to.
He said: The two of them talk about it and Cristiano told me he didn’t feel well enough, or didn’t feel as though he should take the penalty – and that’s why Bruno took it.”
Considering the tough personal week Ronaldo has had, it is a little understandable, although a little uncharacteristic to pass up a goal or shy away from a challenge.
Penalties are high pressure situations and Ronaldo perhaps is still feeling fragile from the death of his new born son, naturally, and looked emotional when he scored, pointing to the heavens.
Fernandes does have a good record from the spot, but on this day, like United’s season, it wasn’t to be.