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PREVIEW: Manchester United v Valencia – Louis van Gaal’s first match in charge at Old Trafford

Manchester United play their first match at Old Trafford under the command of new manager Louis van Gaal on Tuesday evening. After a successful pre-season tour of the United States of America in which five matches were played and five were won, one by a penalty shootout, you have to consider that a successful pre-season campaign. All five matches were against teams that are not exactly unknown. LA Galaxy, AS Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Liverpool. The formation was tinkered with by the manager for his 5-3-2 variation system, which ended up being a 3-4-1-2 formation, something which has worked for the players involved, but by no means does it mean that United do not need to buy players this summer.

We all know that quality is needed and it was fair for Louis van Gaal to give each player a chance, which he has done throughout the pre-season tour. There have been many rumours about departures with between five and seven players being shown the door, but I am sure the actual figure might be different when the manager makes his announcement via the official Manchester United website. Valencia have named a 22-man squad to face United at Old Trafford, including; Nicolás Otamendi, Andrés Guardado, Pablo Piatti and Rodrigo Moreno Machado, among others. I am sure that they will be wanting to get their pre-season preparations to finish with a bang and a victory at Old Trafford before their new season starts on the 23rd August with a trip to Seville.

United manager Louis van Gaal will be looking forward to taking charge of United’s first match at Old Trafford under his command. Ryan Giggs will also be making another debut, this time as assistant manager, which shows a new era is about to start once again. United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard spoke to the official Manchester United website about the manager debut at Old Trafford, also mentioning his own. He said:

“The manager can expect the same that all others coming to Old Trafford expect: it is the Theatre of Dreams. It is a dream for everyone in football to walk those yards up to the stage and say that you have been a part of this historic place. I am sure he will get a fantastic welcome from the fans, the players and everyone supporting Manchester United.

“My own first match was one of those experiences that I will take with me into the grave. It was something that I had been dreaming about my whole life and to achieve something that you dream so much about is just life confirming. It is those moments that really make your life more living.”

Juan Mata will be a player eager to face his old club on Tuesday evening. I remember that both Mata and David Villa played against United in a pre-season friendly back in 2009 in which United won 2-0. It was a time where both Mata and Villa were linked with moves to the Old Trafford club, which was just another summer of speculation, but at least Mata did finally arrive at Old Trafford as a United player, albeit just less than five years after the match where the speculation was rife.

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Manchester United – Last Six Matches: WWWWWD

Liverpool 3-1 W, Real Madrid 3-1 W, Inter Milan 0-0 (5-3) W, AS Roma 3-2 W, LA Galaxy 7-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D

Valencia – Last Six Matches: WDLLLW

Benfica 3-1 W, AS Monaco 2-2 D, Universidad Católica 1-0 L, Alianza Lima 2-2 (9-8) L, Nürnberg 3-1 L, Bayreuth 5-1 W

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: Rafael da Silva, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Marnick Vermijl, Michael Keane, Reece James, Tyler Blackett;

Midfielders: Anderson, Juan Mata, Michael Carrick, Nani, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Antonio Valencia, Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha, Marouane Fellaini, Nick Powell, Tom Lawrence, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj;

Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Robin van Persie, James Wilson, Will Keane

Valencia Squad:

Manager: Nuno Espírito Santo

Goalkeepers: Diego Alves Carreira, Yoel Rodríguez Oterino, Jaume Doménech Sánchez;

Defenders: Antonio Barragán, João Pedro da Silva Pereira, Nicolás Otamendi, Reubén Miguel Nunes Vezo, Lucas Orban, Mustafi, José Gayà;

Midfielders: Javier Fuego Martínez, Daniel Parejo Munoz, André Gomes, Andrés Guardado, Rodrigo De Paul, Pablo Piatti, Robert Ibáñez, Sofiane Feghouli;

Forwards: Carles Gil, Rodrigo Moreno Machado, Vinícius Vasconcelos Araújo, Francisco Alcácer Garćia

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI and Formation:

Score Prediction:

Manchester United 3-1 Valencia

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