Manchester United head into Saturday’s Guinness International Champions Cup match with AS Roma fresh from their 7-0 thrashing of MLS side LA Galaxy in Pasadena. Louis van Gaal tried and tested his 3-5-2 formation, which at times looked to be 3-4-3 and it worked. United were pressing throughout the match, which was great to see based on the football we saw last season under former manager David Moyes. The Dutchman restored faith in his squad and tested 20 of the players at his perusal with only Darren Fletcher and new signing Ander Herrera lasting the full 90 minutes of the match. Danny Welbeck scored the first goal and braces from Wayne Rooney, Reece James and Ashley Young completed the scoring. Ander Herrera was voted the Man of the Match, and deservedly so.
Many will rule the 7-0 rout against LA Galaxy as nothing special, despite the MLS side being one of the strongest teams in the American league, and believe it or not, they were the team to have conceded the least goals so far this season, something which could affect them for the remainder of the season after their friendly scoreline with United. The Old Trafford club no face three European sides in the Guinness International Champions Cup, which could be a test for Van Gaal’s squad. AS Roma played Liverpool in the early hours of Thursday, beating them 1-0 at Fenway Park in Boston, all thanks to a Liverpool own goal scored, but it was credited to Marco Borriello.
Roma have played United in the past, the most memorable? The 7-1 thrashing at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League rings a bell. What a great match that was. I don’t expect a scoreline like that this time, but saying that, I did not expect a 7-0 thrashing over LA Galaxy. If United can get through pre-season in the USA by winning most of their matches, especially the one against Real Madrid in Ann Arbor, they will have done well compared to 12 months ago, where they were shown up by lesser known opposition. The match with Roma will be good for the players, but with it being played at altitude in a city currently going through a heat wave situation, both sides could struggle.
I expect Louis van Gaal to field a strong side once again, maybe testing players out at times with it being a friendly. Perhaps a few of the player that were unused against LA Galaxy will get their chance to shine for the new manager. Javier Hernandez should be available for the match having joined up with the side on Tuesday evening in Los Angeles. There are also other players that are going to be flying out to the United States this weekend, in view of them being available for the matches against Inter Milan and Real Madrid, before the team fly back to Manchester, where they face Valencia four days before the start of the season.
AS Roma – Last Six Matches: WWLLLW
Liverpool 1-0 W, Indonesia U23 3-1 W, Genoa 1-0 L, Juventus 1-0 L, Catania 4-1 L, AC Milan 2-0 W
Manchester United – Last Six Matches: WDWLWL
LA Galaxy 7-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Hull City 3-1 W, Sunderland 1-0 L, Norwich City 4-0 W, Everton 2-0 L
AS Roma Squad:
Manager: Rudi Garcia
Goalkeepers: 1. Bogdan Lobonț, 26. Morgan De Sanctis, 28. Łukasz Skorupski, 0. Tomas Švedkauskas;
Defenders: 3. Ashley Cole, 5. Leandro Castán, 11. Alessio Romagnoli, 17. Mehdi Benatia, 42. Federico Balzaretti, 82. Urby Emanuelson, 0. Mihai Bălașa, 0. Petar Golubović, 0. Arturo Calabresi, 0. Elio Capradossi, 0. Michele Somma;
Midfielders: 4. Radja Nainggolan, 6. Kevin Strootman, 15. Miralem Pjanić, 16. Daniele De Rossi, 20. Seydou Keita, 32. Leandro Paredes, 48. Salih Uçan, 0. Stefano Pettinari;
Forwards: 7. Juan Iturbe, 8. Adem Ljajić, 9. Marco Borriello, 10. Francesco Totti, 22. Mattia Destro, 24. Alessandro Florenzi, 27. Gervinho, 96. Antonio Sanabria
Manchester United Squad:
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 13. Anders Lindegaard, 40. Ben Amos, 50. Sam Johnstone;
Defenders: 2. Rafael da Silva, 4. Phil Jones, 6. Jonny Evans, 12. Chris Smalling, 28. Luke Shaw, 38. Michael Keane, 41. Reece James, 42. Tyler Blackett;
Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 17. Nani, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 23. Tom Cleverley, 24. Darren Fletcher, 25. Antonio Valencia, 26. Shinji Kagawa, 29. Wilfried Zaha, 35. Jesse Lingard;
Forwards: 10. Wayne Rooney, 14. Javier Hernandez, 19. Danny Welbeck, 48. Will Keane
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI and Formation:
AS Roma 1-3 Manchester United