Preview: Mourinho seeking the final balance in his Manchester United squad before their second Real Madrid test


Manchester United -v- Sampdoria

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland

Wednesday 2nd August 2017; KO 19:45 BST

Live on MUTV in the United Kingdom

Manchester United head to Dublin, Ireland on Wednesday to play their last pre-season match of the summer, this time pitted against Serie A side Sampdoria. United have played six matches this summer so far, beating LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, Manchester City, Real Madrid (on penalties) and Valerenga. Jose Mourinho’s side have lost once, a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona. The Portuguese manager will be looking to get everything right in this match as he focuses on the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid in less than a week’s time in Skopje, Macedonia – the first competitive match of the season. Five days later United will welcome West Ham United to Old Trafford for the first Premier League match of the new season, with Mourinho’s United side expected to rise to the challenge this season, taking on the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal to compete for the Premier League title, after four years sitting out.

Sampdoria have played in the Serie A for six successive seasons, finished tenth in the Italian top-flight last season with manager Marco Giampaolo looking to improve on that this season. Playing against a Manchester United team who have raised their game in a year will be a good test for them. The match will be a good test for United too, having to face the La Liga and UEFA Champions League winners next Tuesday, which will be a much bigger test than their pre-season 1-1 draw with United winning 2-1 on penalties. This will also be the first time Sergio Romero comes up against his old side having spent four years with the club, albeit as their number two goalkeeper before he joined the club in the summer of 2015.

Mourinho’s new signing, Nemanja Matic will be eligible to play his first match in a United shirt, fitness may limit his time although he has been training on his own at Chelsea, not taking part in their pre-season tour of China and Singapore this summer. United’s supporters will be looking forward to seeing their new signing play for the club, which could come at some point in the match. Matic could start, which would not be a shock. He seems to have settled in at the club already, spending just over 24 hours at the club since his signing was confirmed. Mourinho is now looking for an attacking midfielder, one who is familiar in the wing positions, that elusive fourth signing might arrive before the summer transfer window closes, but Mourinho and United’s supporters will be happy a defensive midfielder has been signed.

Team News: Nemanja Matic to start against Sampdoria?

Jose Mourinho has nothing to worry about ahead of his last pre-season match of the summer. No more injuries have affected the squad with both Ander Herrera and Juan Mata returning in the 3-0 victory over Valerenga in Oslo on Sunday. Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, and Marcos Rojo remain on the sidelines through injury and are tipped to be back in September, October, and December respectively. Matic will strengthen United midfield this season, leaving less pressure on United captain Michael Carrick, who turned 36 last week. Matic will provide cover for the defence, also allowing both Herrera and Paul Pogba to do their thing in midfield, which should help United’s attacking players create and score goals. Perhaps Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, Demetri Mitchell and the scorer of United’s third goal in Norway, Scott McTominay will be given some time on the pitch, some of them in contention to play a part against Real Madrid next week.

Predicted Starting XI:

Match Prediction:

Manchester United 3-1 Sampdoria

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copyright: JW

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