Manchester United will go head to head with Melbourne Victory on Friday in their second pre-season match of the summer. Erik ten Hag’s squad will be tasked with improving on his training methods and getting ready for the new Premier League season.
United beat Liverpool 4-0 in their opening match of the summer with Jadon Sancho, Fred, Anthony Martial and Facundo Pellistri scoring the goals. United also won a trophy, which seems to be something the Liverpool fans have mocked despite nobody celebrating it, except jokingly.
It is quite funny how the fans of that club seem to think they are better at everything including celebrating things that they never achieved. I remember when they were celebrating a quadruple but ended up missing out on the Premier League, again and being beaten by Real Madrid, again.
Enough about them, this is about United now. This first match against Melbourne Victory will see United going up against the unknown. Former United winger Nani has recently signed for the Australian club and it will be good to see him once again.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia;
Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
David De Gea played well against Liverpool and actually came off his line and improved his distribution, which was surprising to see. United will be better having him this season, as long as the defence can bee strengthened either with training or adding more players to the squad.
In the future, De Gea will be challenged by Dean Henderson, if he has a good loan spell at Nottingham Forest this coming season. It will be something that the two of them will need to sort out between them – but it will come at some point.
If it is not Henderson, it will be another goalkeeper. Perhaps in the second half of this match we could see one of either Nathan Bishop or Matej Kovar coming on to replace De Gea, but it might be Tom Heaton, who replaced the United number one against Liverpool.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia
United’s defence did well against Liverpool, especially in the second half when the squad was weakened by Ten Hag and Liverpool starting to bring on their main attacking players – keeping a clean sheet. Eric Bailly was particularly good in the second half.
Against Melbourne, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia should both start in the fullback positions, giving both the opportunity to show what they can do, putting their names in the hat for these positions when the Premier League starts next month.
In the centre of the defence Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire could start together, with changes to be made in the second half of the match, keeping a much stronger defence for the second half of the match depending on whether these players have 45 or 60 minutes on the pitch.
Midfielders: James Garner, Fred, Bruno Fernandes
United’s problems in midfield seem to have changed a little without any new additions at the club thus far. Against Liverpool, Scott McTominay and Fred worked well together with Fred getting a great goal to put United 2-0 up – for that he should keep his place in the two-man midfield.
James Garner was missing from the first match but trained on Wednesday in Melbourne, so could be up for starting this match. I have been looking forward to seeing what he can do after his successful loan spells at Nottingham Forest. I would like to see more of Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal too.
In the 4-2-3-1 formation, United will form a two-man pivot with an advanced midfield playing between the two wide players; in this instance Sancho and Rashford. Bruno Fernandes should keep his place in this match, getting more minutes in after captaining the team against Liverpool.
Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
United did well against Liverpool with both Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho scoring in the first half against their North West Rivals. I would imagine all three would start in this match once again, with them seeking 45-60 minutes of action – probably 45 for this match.
Martial has returned to United training after a failed loan spell at Sevilla with a good attitude – seemingly hungry to achieve something. He bust a gut to score the third goal of the match and seemed happy for doing do. However, he still needs to do a lot more to win his place back.
Sancho scored a great goal to open the scoring for United against Liverpool and he was unlucky on a few occasions too. Perhaps this pre-season, added to his hunger to achieve and the fact United are now being trained properly, he could start to show the form he had at Dortmund.
Marcus Rashford has a lot to prove at United this summer. He had a dreadful 2021/22 season and based on his misses against Liverpool on Tuesday, he still needs to perfect his accuracy with the ball. If Ten Hag signed Antony this summer, Rashford would remain on the bench.
In goal, Ten Hag will have Tom Heaton, Nathan Bishop, Matej Kovar to choose from when the goalkeeper is changed in the second half of the match. De Gea should be fit to continue in goal continuing where he left off against Liverpool – improving his distribution.
In defence the likes of Eric Bailly, Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Alex Telles, Axel Tuanzebe and Ethan Laird could all be involved at some stage of the match with Tuanzebe and Laird not yet being involved so far this summer.
The midfield could see Amad Diallo, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Hannibal Mejbri, Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal being involved with Hannibal yet to play any minutes for United on this tour. There is plenty of time for him to get involved though.
In attack, which is where United are perhaps the weakest on this tour, the likes of Anthony Elanga, Tahith Chong and Alejandro Garnacho could be called upon with both Chong and Garnacho not yet being involved in the tour so far. This match could be a good time for them to get minutes.
Written by John Walker