Diogo Dalot has left Ralph Rangnick with a clear choice at Manchester United – Stephen Rylstone

Diogo Dalot could not win a fixed place in the Manchester United starting line-up with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge.

That changed when Solskjaer was pulled out of his misery and sacked in November.

With the managerial change comes uncertainty, but for others it promises opportunities, and Dalot was in the last category in the United dressing room. The 22-year-old has played just 330 minutes under Solskjaer this season however he has already surpassed that time on the pitch under Ralf Rangnick.

Solskjaer continued to pick Aaron Wan-Bissaka despite his mediocre performances. Rangnick was set on a temporary basis and this evidence was torn up. Dalot started in Rangnick’s first three touchline matches in the Premier League and was a race against Crystal Palace and Norwich, albeit befuddled when dealing with Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin.

While United failed to perform collectively across those games, Dalot emerged with credit.

As expected, there was a stark difference in his style compared to that of Wan-Bissaka. It appears Rangnick’s philosophy hasn’t made its way to Manchester yet – not much has changed in United’s performance – but the Reds need to have a proactive defense so the Germans’ impact can be felt.

Although Luke Shaw’s form was left in the Wembley dressing room after the European Championship final, his performances last season show United enjoy a full left-back when at their best. That can’t really be said about Wan-Bissaka.

In the modern day game, defenders can no longer only defend. The requirements of the position have changed with the tactical development of the sport and the ability to move forward, to add value to the attacks, the role is now non-negotiable.

Dalot is positive and serious when moving forward. Wan-Bissaka is heavy and devoid of quality in the last three scenarios by comparison.

When analyzing progressive actions (passing and carrying) and open playing chances created every 90 minutes by the Premier League full-back, an eye test is confirmed by the data when comparing Dalot and Wan-Bissaka. The Portuguese ranks higher on both metrics, which should come as no surprise to United fans who have regularly seen both players this season.

Wan-Bissaka is back at the start on the 11th against Burnley Wolves, but the data suggests this was a wrong decision.

Rangnick wants United to play at a higher level on the field and create numerical advantages over wide areas is key. The knockout effect of having Wan-Bissaka on the side extends beyond the line of defense. His lack of proactivity is an issue that affects the entire team.

Pressure on the opponent and pressure is worthless without coherent effort. While Wan-Bissaka is not to blame – Solskjaer has been a bad Manchester United manager in this area – he often looked confused, not knowing whether to push or stay behind and this provides space for the opponent to exploit. Liverpool benefited from this chaos as any other team this season.

Wan-Bissaka is certainly not a losing cause, but it looks like it’s best for Dalot to have a steady career in the Manchester United starting line-up now. It is common for Wan-Bissaka to be a better defender, however, Dalot actually has a better defensive record this season.



Comparison of Dalot and Wan-Bissaka.

Dalot has an average number of aerial duels won and defensive duels per 90 in the Premier League compared to Wan-Bissaka this term.




The potential United scouts who were identified in him when he played for Porto is now clear. Dalot’s time at Milan honed his skills and it is clear that he returned to United in the summer, after Euro 2020 with Portugal, as a player who has improved a lot.

It is therefore surprising that United have linked a move to Brighton’s Tarek Lamptey. Although the young man had made a great impression on the southern coast in a short amount of time, Dalot’s true potential was only beginning to come true.

Rangnick doesn’t need to move to Lamptey when Dalot finally begins to prove his worth at Old Trafford.

Wan-Bissaka fails to inspire despite the many opportunities and it is time for Dalot to enjoy a consistent lineup of games.

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