Manchester United will face Aston Villa t the Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia in what will be the final pre-season mactch of this leg of the tour. Erik ten Hag’s side has done well so far winning the first three matches; beating Liverpool 4-0, Melbourne Victory 4-1 and Crystal Palace 3-1. We have seen some entertaining, attacking football in those matches.
This will be the first time that Ten Hag has faced Steven Gerrard as the United manager and despite it being a friendly, this should be dealt with in the same manner as United took on Liverpool. Nobody wants Gerrard to beat United whether it is a friendly or not. United will need to be at their best against this Villa side – as was shown last season.
Anthony Martial will be looking to score his fourth goal in four matches of this tour, showing his early form this summer, which looks good a fortnight before the new Premier League season starting. Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have two goals a piece with Fred, Scott McTominay and Facundo Pellistri having one goal each – plus an own goal.
This has been an exciting pre-season tour for United with it being the first time they have left the United Kingdom since the summer of 2019, having just one pre-season match in the summer of 2020 and having four matches last summer, which should have been five with one match cancelled because of the coronavirus.
Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;
van de Beek, Fred;
Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;
Heaton, Bishop, Kovar; Bailly, Malacia, Varane, Telles, Wan-Bissaka, Fish, Laird; Amad, Pellistri, Garner, Hannibal, Savage, Iqbal; Elanga, Chong, Garnacho
Cash, Carlos, Mings, Digne;
McGinn, Kamara, Ramsey;
Olsen, Marshall; Konsa, Chambers, Young, Feeney; Luis, Sanson, Buendia, Kesler, Ramsey, Iroegbunam; Bailey, Archer
United are in good form at this stage of pre-season, winning all three of their matches so far, scoring 11 goals and conceding twice, keeping a clean sheet in the opening match against Liverpool. Villa have had a positive pre-season so far beating Walsall 4-0, Leeds United 1-0 and Brisbane Roar 1-0. Gerrard’s side will need to be able to cope with United.
Ten Hag has created something at United in just a short space of time, turning a team that struggled to score goals last season into one which seems intent to score for fun. Granted, it is pre-season and success is not measured here – match fitness and implementation of the style of play counts but it is a positive spell so far.
With two more matches left to play after this, both back in Europe, Ten Hag will be looking forward to implementing his other two signings; Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez who are both in Manchester with the latter seeking to get his deal completed at the club as soon as his work permit comes through.
United will fly back home to Manchester after this match and will then have a week to acclimatise and overcome jet lag before they face both Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano in just over 24 hours at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo and Old Trafford in Manchester. Then United will be ready for the new season, starting against Brighton and Hove Albion at home.
Written by John Walker