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Preview: Manchester United aiming to end pre-season on a high with victory over Milan

Manchester United -v- AC Milan

International Champions Cup

Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales

Saturday 3 August 2019, KO 17:30 BST

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.

Form: United undefeated in pre-season so far; Milan beaten against both Bayern Munich and Benfica.

Manchester United:Leeds United 4-0 W, Perth Glory 2-0 W, Inter Milan 1-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Kristiansund 1-0 W

AC Milan:Bayern Munich 1-0 L, Benfica 1-0 L

Top Scorers: United has scored ten goals in pre-season whilst Milan has scored none.

Manchester United:Scoring goals has been easy so far but it will become more difficult as pre-season ends and the Premier League season starts.

Goals:2 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, 1 – Angel Gomes, James Garner, Juan Mata, Phil Jones

Assists:2 – Andreas Pereira, 1 – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay

United has played five matches of their pre-season tour this summer, beating Perth Glory 2-0, Leeds United 4-0, Inter Milan 1-0, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, and Kristiansund 1-0. It is a good pre-season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who at this moment in time has a 100% record. Winning this match will keep that and set the club up for the new season, however, there is still much work to be done.

AC Milan:Two defeats and no goals scored in pre-season so far this summer.

Goals:None

Assists:None

Milan has played twice this summer, both in the International Champions Cup. Ther were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich – a match that was played at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, which followed another 1-0 defeat by Benfica, which was played at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. This could be the clubs third defeat in a row this summer.

Team News: Eric Bailly out of this match through injury; Romelu Lukaku could play his first match of the summer after recovering from injury.

Manchester United will be without Eric Bailly for this game with the Ivorian missing the next four to five months of football with a knee injury. Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku was tipped by Solskjaer earlier in the week to possibly be available for this match, however, he did not travel so will have missed all pre-season matches this summer. United does not seem to have any other problems to face Milan. Solskjaer said:

“He [Lukaku] got injured so it was best for him to stay home. He wouldn’t have been able to play. He might be able to train in the next few days.”

Solskjaer has a strong squad this summer, which is a mix of experienced players and some of the clubs most talented youth players from the Academy. Mason Greenwood has played well this summer, bagging himself two goals; one against Leeds United, the other against Inter Milan. James Garner scored against Perth Glory with Angel Gomes scoring against Spurs. The manager will be pleased with the youth.

Predicted Starting XI: Youth to be given a chance against Milan as United look to end pre-season with undefeated, maybe with a trophy!

Solskjaer has used 27 players during pre-season this summer with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford playing more minutes than any of their teammates. It is likely that all of these will be involved against Milan, ensuring their fitness ahead of the Premier League season starting a week on Sunday with the visit of Chelsea to the Theatre of Dreams.

I would expect David De Gea to play in goal with a back four of Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw. Chris Smalling might be in with a shout but he has played a small part in pre-season so far. I would expect a midfield two again, consisting of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba. Supporting Marcus Rashford as the striker, I expect to see Daniel James, Mason Greenwood and maybe Angel Gomes once again.

Match Prediction: United seem to be more dominant in their matches than this lowly Milan team, who have fallen massively in the last decade.

United has played Milan ten times with United winning five times and Milan winning five times. The last matches were played nine years ago with United winning 3-2 at the San Siro, with goals from Wayne Rooney, a brace, and Paul Scholes. Then a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford with a brace from Rooney and goals from Ji-sung Park and Darren Fletcher. Of course, since both teams last played each other, Milan has slipped massively.

Manchester United 3-0 AC Milan

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