United went into their match with Watford on a high.
They appeared to be turning a corner in the Premier League after successive victories over Brighton and Leeds, while the midweek Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid represented yet another step in the right direction.
But United, against Watford, huffed and puffed to no avail.
Ronaldo was guilty of more poor finishing, with the years clearly starting to catch up to the 37-year-old.
And Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Elanga and Paul Pogba all spurned good chances as United saw their hopes of finishing in the top four dealt another blow.
Rashford was left on the bench for the match at Old Trafford.
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The England international has been enduring a tough season and, against Atletico in midweek, was one of the worst players on the pitch.
He’s no longer a shoo-in on the left wing, with Anthony Elanga recently overtaking him in the club’s pecking order.
Despite the departures of Anthony Martial and Amad in January, to Sevilla and Ragers respectively, and the absence of Mason Greenwood Rashford has still struggled for form.
At present, it’s hard to see a way back for him when it comes to the wide positions.
However, up top, there may be an opening.
Ronaldo is so bad these days it’s hard to see the Portugal international keeping his place, despite his opposition to being benched or left out.
The United star has gone backwards since the appointment of Rangnick, scoring just three times.
It was a different story under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the former Juventus and Real Madrid star netting nine times during that spell.
His other three goals came during Michael Carrick’s three matches in charge of the club.
So with Ronaldo going off the boil, increasingly so, it may be time to unleash Rashford in the No 9 position instead.
There have been times, over the course of the 24-year-old’s career, where that has looked like his best position.
Van Gaal certainly thought it was, unleashing Rashford as a No 9 during his final few months in the Old Trafford dugout.
That decision paid off, with the United forward scoring eight times from 18 league appearances.
That included a memorable double against Arsenal and a memorable strike against West Ham in the FA Cup as the Red Devils won the famous trophy that year.
Jose Mourinho was reluctant to use Rashford as a centre-forward during his spell in charge.
Yet Solskjaer, upon replacing Mourinho in December 2018, then changed things up.
The United legend saw Rashford shine during the early weeks of his reign, with the striker netting in victories against the likes of Cardiff, Leicester and Bournemouth.
Due to the presence of Martial, however, Solskjaer then moved Rashford out wide.
Now, though, it may be time to change things up again.
Ronaldo can’t be relied on anymore, with the Portugal international’s best years behind him and no sign of a resurgence in sight.
Rashford, however, may be the answer to their problems if they decide to tap into the Van Gaal era.
He’s a good finisher and his speed would cause rivals problems, especially when he’s operating at the peak of his powers.
Whether Rangnick decides to be that bold, however, is something only time will tell.
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