Preview: Manchester United seeking victory in Melbourne; more young reds to gain experience?

United have 31 players on this tour but Ten Hag needs to find his best XI in the coming weeks

Melbourne Victory -v- Manchester United

Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia

Friday 15 July 2022, KO 11:05 BST

Manchester United face A-League side Melbourne Victory in their second pre-season match of the summer. Erik ten Hag’s side beat Liverpool 4-0 in the opening fixture of pre-season in Bangkok and arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday where they had their first training session.

The match will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where United will also face Crystal Palace on Tuesday 19 July 2022 before the squad heads off to Perth where they will face Aston Villa before heading back to Manchester. United will play two more matches in Europe.

In the 4-0 victory over Liverpool, United scored three goals in the opening 33 minutes of the match with Jadon Sancho scoring the first goal before Fred chipped the goalkeeper from inside the box before Anthony Martial scored after picking up the ball in the final third.

Facundo Pellistri scored the fourth goal of the match with Amad Diallo getting the only assist of the match. Liverpool tried to get some goals back but it was not working for them. It was a good match to see, albeit meaningless and Ten Hag will be quietly pleased to see his training working.

Manchester United Pre-Season Squad

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Tom Heaton, Nathan Bishop, Matej Kovar

Defenders: Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Alex Telles, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Ethan Laird

Midfielders: Bruno Fernandes, Amad Diallo, Fred, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek, James Garner, Scott McTominay, Hannibal Mejbri, Charlie Savage, Zidane Iqbal

Forwards: Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, Tahith Chong, Alejandro Garnacho 

Melbourne Victory Pre-Season Squad

Goalkeepers: Matt Acton, Paul Izzo, Ahmad Taleb

Defenders: Jason Geria, Matthew Spiranovic, George Timotheou, Stefan Nigro, Roderick, Noah Smith, Zaydan Bello, Matthew Bozinovski

Midfielders: Rai Marchán, Leigh Broxham, Chris Ikonomidis, Joshua Brillante, Birkan Kirdar, Jay Barnett, Nani, Luka Prso, Jake Brimmer, Eli Adams, William Wilson

Forwards: Tomi Juric, Ben Folami, Nicholas D’Agostino, Nishan Velupillay, Lleyton Brooks

Manchester United Manager: Erik ten Hag

The Dutch manager is at his fifth club of his management career having previously managed the Go Ahead Eagles, Bayern Munich II, Utrecht and Ajax before United. He started management in 2012 at Go Ahead Eagles managing 39 matches; winning 18, drawing 11 and losing 12 – winning 46.2%.

He was at Bayern Munich II from 2013 until 2015 where he managed 72 matches; winning 48, drawing 10 and losing 14 – winning 66.7%. He managed Utrecht from 2015 until 2017 where he managed 111 matches; winning 56, drawing 26 and losing 29 – winning 50.5%.

Moving to Ajax in 2017 until 2022, Ten Hag managed 215 matches; winning 158, drawing 28 and losing 29 – winning 73.5%. In total, Ten Hag has managed 437 matches; winning 280, drawing 75 and losing 82 – winning 64.1%. In theory, Ten Hag’s arrival at United is similar to Klopp’s at Liverpool.

During his management career, Ten Hag has won seven trophies – including one Regionalliga Bayern, three Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups and one Johan Cruyff Shield. It is hoped that he could resurrect United during his time at the club but he has a lot of work ahead of him to do that.

After seeing his side on the pitch in a match for the first time on Tuesday, Ten Hag will be pleased with what he saw with United scoring four goals through Sancho, Fred, Martial and Pellistri. Amad got the only assist of the match but it was something to build on – which is what this is about.

Melbourne Victory Manager: Tony Popovic

The Australian manager is now at his fifth club as the first team manager. He has also been both the assistant and caretaker of Sydney FC and assistant of Crystal Palace. He has managed Western Sydney Wanderers, Karabükspor, Perth Glory, Xanthi and now Melbourne Victory.

At Western Sydney Wanderers (2012-17) he managed 180 matches; winning 77, drawing 40 and losing 63 – winning 42.8%. He then moved to Turkish side Karabükspor (2017) where he managed 11 matches; winning three, drawing none and losing eight – winning 27.27%.

From there, Popovic managed Perth Glory (2018-20) he managed 60 matches; winning 30, drawing 13 and losing 17 – winning 50%. He then managed Greek side Xanthi (2020-21) where he managed nine matches; winning four, drawing three and losing two – winning 44.44%.

Now back in Australia and managing Melbourne Victory (2021) he has so far managed 34 matches; winning 20, drawing nine and losing five – winning 58.82%. In total, Popovic has managed 294 matches; winning 134, drawing 65 and losing 95 – winning 45.58%.

During his management career, Popovic has won two A-League Mens Premiers, finishing as runners-up twice – also achieving the runners-up in the A-League Mens final four times. Popovic has also won one AFC Champions League and one Australia Cup.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia;

Garner, Fred;

Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;


Predicted Melbourne Victory Starting XI – 4-3-3


Geria, Roderick, Spiranovic, Nigro;

Brillante, Marchán;

Folami, Brimmer, Nani;


Manchester United Pre-Season Statistics

Goals: 1 – Fred, Anthony Martial, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho

Assists: 1 – Amad Diallo

Match Prediction

This will be the first match between United and Melbourne Victory and it could be a god match with United reunited with Nani, who left the club in 2015 for Fenerbahce. He has also played for Lazio, Sporting CP, who United signed him from, Orlando City, Venezia and now Melbourne Victory.

It is expected that United will utilise two different teams again for this match but there could be some rotation with players who were missing for the last match training on Wednesday putting themselves into contention for this match. It seems things are going well so far.

Ten Hag will be looking for a positive performance much like the one on Tuesday which will enable him to see more of his players and get into his mind who could be starting in the opening Premier League match of the season against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday 7 August.

I was surprised that United beat Liverpool in the first match – I had predicted a 2-2 draw in the 90 minute match, not realising that a trophy was to be awarded, which would have sent the match into penalties. I would imagine United should win this match but you never know.

Melbourne Victory 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.