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How Manchester United could look against AC Milan in the final International Champions Cup match in Cardiff

Manchester United will take on AC Milan in the International Champions Cup at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. This will be United’s final ICC match and the final match of pre-season. United have beaten both Perth Glory 2-0, Leeds United 4-0, Inter Milan 1-0, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, and Kristiansund 1-0. They have the chance to lift the International Champions Cup too.

Currently, Benfica is the only other team in the tournament that has a 100% record, winning all three matches they have played. United has won both of theirs and will need to beat AC Milan by at least three goals to level Benfica at the top of the table on points and goal difference. The rules state that head to head record will decide the winner but United has not played Benfica this summer.

Therefore it will be decided based on results against a common opponent. Benfica has beaten Guadalajara 3-0, Fiorentina 1-0 and AC Milan 1-0. Milan are the only common opponent so United would need to better the result Benfica had but they also need to score three goals to match Benfica’s goal difference. If that happens, United will win the International Champions Cup for a second time.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without Eric Bailly, who had a second knee operation this year and will be out for four to five months. Romelu Lukaku was missing from the squad also, so will have missed all six pre-season matches this summer. Some will suggest it is because he is leaving the club, others may say that he is injured. There is no smoke without fire.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one has played a few pre-season matches now and is returning to form. It was suggested that he could be leaving this summer but now it seems likely that he will renew his contract once again, staying at the club for the foreseeable future. He may even become the clubs new captain, which would be good for him and the development of the team. Having him in the squad is the best thins really, based on what he has done to help the club since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, which saw United slip in form, something they are still trying to recover from.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw

United’s defence conceded more than 50 goals in the Premier League alone last season which saw the club finish in sixth place once again. Aaron Wan-Bissaka arrived at the club from Crystal Palace and so far it has worked in the favour of United with a true right-back playing in the squad again. Victor Lindelof was the clubs stand-out central defender last season and finding a partner for him was urgent. United seem to have done that in Harry Maguire. Ahead of the Milan match, Axel Tuanzebe needs to be tested. Obviously, Luke Shaw will play at left-back in the final pre-season match of the summer. One last test before results matter again with Chelsea just over a week away from arriving at the Theatre of Dreams.

Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

This is an area that United may need some creativity added to the squad, hence the reported interest in Bruno Fernandes. Right now though, United are stuck with what they have got. Real Madrid now seems to hold no interest in Paul Pogba, so he should remain at the club. Against Milan, the Frenchman should be partnered by Scott McTominay as I feel he is ahead of Nemanja Matic, based on ability, not experience. United may need to get something sorted with a manner of days standing in the way before another transfer window slams shut.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Daniel James

United have the luxury of fast-paces players in their ranks this summer with the addition of Daniel James, who arrived from Swansea City and Mason Greenwood, who came through the clubs academy. Both have been prevalent during the pre-season matches already played, which makes United look a lot quicker and more able to press their opposition high up the pitch. Both should play against Milan, as should Angel Gomes, who has done well recently, scoring the winner against Spurs last week.

Striker: Marcus Rashford

The 21-year-old has scored two goals in pre-season so far this summer and United has played five matches – winning them all with ten goals scored and only one conceded so far. Rashford was said to be the player who would lead the line but more recently, he has played on the flanks again, giving Anthony Martial a chance to lead the line. Rashford seems more determined whilst leading the line but depending on how the summer transfer window transpires, there may be other options coming.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero, Lee Grant; Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Diogo Dalot; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Nemanja Matic, James Garner; Anthony Martial, Tahith Chong

United have many capable players on the bench, some of whom could change matches, however, it is clear to see that strengthening is needed if United are to propel themselves back to the pinnacle of domestic, then European football. There are plenty of young and quick players in the squad as a whole with many options for Solskjaer ahead of this match and the new season.

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