Manchester United drew 2-2 with Aston Villa in their final pre-season match in Australia. Jadon Sancho and a Matty Cash own goal put United 2-0 up in the first half. Leon Bailey goal a goal back at the start of the second half with Calum Chambers equalising at the death in Perth. The pitch was terrible and so was the torrential rain in the first half.
United started well on the front foot but the pitch is in an awful condition with divots, mud patches and replaced sections of grass. It was not going to get better throughout the match either. There was a call for a penalty in the third minute of the match with Philippe Coutinho going down in the box but nothing was given after the supposed contact from Fred.
John McGinn had to block a United shot in the sixth minute of the match after Jadon Sancho volleyed towards the back post from a corner, with another set-piece awarded. Harry Maguire, playing at right centre-back in this match in a actual tweak, headed from the corner but Emiliano Martinez made a great save to deny the United captain.
Maguire sent a simple pass out of play in the eighth minute, earning some groans from the supporters in the stadium. Fred then had to be sharp to stop Coutinho, who was on he dribble. Matty Cash then won the ball back for Villa and shot from 25-yards but his effort on goal was slightly angled and fizzed past the far post.
Villa then made another save with Sancho trying his luck from the edge of the box which forced Martinez to get down low to make the stop. In the 12th minute, McGinn managed to get away from Luke Shaw in the midfield area of the pitch but nothing came of the attack despite the player not have many problems with the pitch at that instance.
Coutinho was booked in the 13th minute of the match after what seemed like dissent following Shaw’s tackle on a Villa forward seconds before. United started to find their feet by the 15th minute with Diogo Dalot defending well, winning the ball off Ollie Watkins on the edge of the box, feeding the ball further up the pitch.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were linking up well with the former feeding the latter for the Frenchman to run onto. He then cut the ball back to Bruno Fernandes, who blasted a shot high and wide – although the flag was raised for offside at that point. Shaw clipped a free-kick into the box in the 22nd minute with Martial looking to strike but the ball was cleared.
Just three minutes later, United opened the scoring through Sancho, who has now matched Martial with his third goal of pre-season. Fernandes rolled the ball over to Rashford on the left, then feeding Shaw on the overlap who dinked the ball over to Sancho for him to volley the ball past Martinez.
Villa then got plenty of possession but made little progress in search of a response to going a goal down. There was a clash between Cash and Shaw in the middle of the pitch but nothing major for the referee to get involved in. Maguire cut out a cross from Lucas Digne in the 34th minute of the match after a threatening move down the left.
United had another chance in the 37th minute in which Sancho should have scored his second goal of the match. Fernandes won the ball on the left flank and charged towards the box. His cross found Sancho in a similar position from where he scored earlier but his touch saw the ball drift into Martinez. Rashford then lashed a shot wide of the target.
The rain started to fall heavily in Perth at this time, which just looked like Manchester, which would have been a slight advantage for United. Rashford then fired a cross-shot across the face of the goal in the 41st minute but Sancho was not quite close enough to reach it. The rain became torrential from there.
United then got their second goal of the match in the 42nd minute with Rashford’s miscued volley looping into the back of the net off Cash after some good play from Sancho in the build up. It was an own goal, the second of pre-season so far for United. Villa then started to look desperate to get into the dry dressing room ahead of the break.
At the start of the second half, United made no substitutions with Villa making five with Emiliano Buendia, Douglas Luis, Ezri Konsa, Robin Olsen and Leon Baily all coming on. Ollie Watkins had a shot on goal early in the half, which was off target and not really challenging David De Gea. But United needed to be wary of Villa’s threat on goal.
Bailey got Villa back into the match in the 49th minute after he was sent away on the right flank before coming inside on his left foot. Victor Lindelof backed off, giving him the space and then Bailey bent the ball low into the far corner of the net, pumping his fist in celebration. Villa were back in the match.
United had a chance in the 51st minute after Olsen got his control of the ball all wrong from a pass back with the ball pinging off his foot into Sancho but the United winger could not get anything from that opportunity, which is something that both players would want to forget quickly.
Bailey started to make an impact on the right, giving Shaw problems but Buendia mis-controlled the ball on the overlap, letting Shaw off slightly. Bailey then got the ball and sent another goal towards the goal, it deflecting off Martial with De Gea king a great save to deny the Jamaican from his second goal of the match.
Villa were seeking to give the ball to Bailey at every opportunity with United starting to lose control of the match despite dominating for the majority of the first half. Olsen then had to prevent another own goal after Sancho crossed in low from the right and Konsa slid in to try and cut the ball out but Olsen had to be sharp to block the ball on the line.
Just before the hour mark of the match, Bailey sent a cross over from the right, which deflected through to Digne with his shot, from his weaker foot, was deflected out for a corner. Villa then had a set-piece which was terribly taken by Douglas Luis. Just three minutes later, Bailey was on the attack again but Maguire tracked him and managed to block his shot.
Villa then made a further six substitutions with Ashley Young, Morgan Sanson, Cameron Archer, Kaine Hayden, Tim Iroegbunam and Calum Chambers all coming on. Just a minute later, United made wholesale substitutions with all outfield players being replaced. Erik ten Hag needed to give players minutes, allowing those who started play just over an hour.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Eric Bailly, Tyrell Malacia, James Garner, Zidane Iqbal, Alex Telles, Hannibal Mejbri, Tahith Chong and Anthony Elanga were all on the pitch to guide United to victory, providing then can shut Bailey out of this match with him being the livewire for Villa since the start of the second half.
Hannibal seemed to be on it from the very second of his introduction, bringing some fire to the match with his temperament being somewhat hot headed. Villa were pushing for an equaliser in the 75th minute as Kesler found Bailey but his touch was not there to cause any damage to United at this time. It was a let off for them.
Chong was booked in the 78th minute of the match for chasing back to stop Douglas Luis. It seemed to be a bit of a harsh booking. Kesler then shot over the crossbar in the 80th minute of the match with Villa changing the momentum of the match in the second half. Varane then headed away Bailey’s cross from the right with De Gea parrying a follow-up from Luiz.
In the dying minutes of the half, it seemed like Villa were testing their luck and get that elusive equaliser after they were dominated in the first half and made waves in the second. The look on the face of Steven Gerrard when it happened was very sour. He was celebrating like he had just won something. Bless him.
United will now leave Australia ahead of the remaining two matches in pre-season, falling to a draw in their fourth match of the summer. Ten Hag’s side will face Atletico Madrid at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo next Saturday, playing Rayo Vallecano just over 24 hours later at Old Trafford. Then, a week after that, the Premier League season starts against Brighton and Hove Albion.
David De Gea: Did not have a lot to do in the first half of the match. However, early in the second he was beaten by Bailey’s effort but made a good save in the 84th minute as Villa looked for an equaliser. He did conceded at the death with Villa getting the equaliser in the end, which was mostly his fault. He should be annoyed with himself. ★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: The Portuguese right-back started the attack in which Sancho scored the opening goal. He performed well again, showing consistency. Ten Hag will be pleased with him, although the right-back position still requires some strengthening this summer. Dalot could well be the starting right-back this season. ★★★★★★★
Harry Maguire: Seemed to get booed when his name was announced, by a minority or jokers. He seemed to be undeterred at times and prevented an equaliser with a block off the line. If he had been on the pitch at the end of the match, perhaps he would have won that header, not allowing Chambers to equalise? ★★★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: Seemed secure in the first half with Villa not really able to cause much damage. However, in the second half, Villa punished United with Bailey’s ability ad eye for a goal. He was the one that gave Bailey the space, which should not have happened. He should have been more confident to close him down, not give him space. ★★★★★★
Luke Shaw: Got the assist for Sancho’s goal in what was a proactive half for the left-back. Shaw was caught high up the pitch when Bailey struck his goal in the opening stages of the second half. He may need to keep an eye on things like that. Ten Hag will get there with this team. There is still a lot of work to do. ★★★★★★
Donny van de Beek: Many suggest that van de Beek is a player that needs unlocking. They just seem to be following the ‘Pogba script’. I thought he was terrible, despite wanting to see him shine. Many though Ten Hag would get the best out of him but that has not happened yet and I won’t hold my breath. ★★★★
Fred: The Brazilian lived up to his role that he has been given, as connector. I don’t seem to understand why he gets so much criticism. Probably because of a lack of knowledge or awareness as three different managers have picked Fred now. He was involved in the second goal, playing the pass which was eventually turned in by Cash. ★★★★★★★
Jadon Sancho: Scored his third goal of pre-season, matching Martial’s efforts on this leg of the tour. He was involved in the second goal, which was good to see and had other chances too. United were at their liveliest when Sancho had the ball. This could well be his season after an uninspiring debut season at the club. ★★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: This was not his best performance. He will have Eriksen to contend with now so it might make him push harder to find his form and get firing again. We know he can do that. He was involved in the move for Sancho’s goal but he was pretty sloppy in possession from there. He knows he can be better than this. ★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: He found himself involved in both goals, forcing a Cash own goal for United to go 2-0 up. He started the tour with frustration, missing easier shots but seemed to find his feet and start to impress. He still has some work to do before the season starts in order to get back to where he was when he was in form the season before last. ★★★★★★
Anthony Martial: He did not seem to get the same chances he has got in the last three matches where he scored three goals. However, his work on an off the ball was still impressive. The pitch and the weather was terrible, although not an excuse for him and his teammates. I still think he has started well this summer and could impress this season. ★★★★★★
Eric Bailly: Replaced Maguire 67′. Was booked late in the second half despite having a good cameo and doing well at times. He was out jumped by Chambers in the last minute of the match which resulted in the equaliser for Villa. He wants to fight for his place in the squad this season, rather than leaving. If he can stay fit, it could work for both parties. ★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: Replaced Shaw 67′. Got your minutes in this match but was not near the form he showed in the last match against Palace. The pitch would have played a big part in that and the fact a lot of the first team players were off the pitch when he came on. This is all about fitness at this stage so it does not really matter. ★★★★★
Raphael Varane: Replaced Lindelof 67′. Bailly outpaced him in the second half and seemed to play so much better. He has been injured since the first match of pre-season, so will be rusty as he is behind his teammates in terms of match fitness. He needs to find his feet at United this season, cutting out the injuries as they seem to cost United massively. ★★★★★
Alex Telles: Replaced Fernandes 67′. Played on the left of midfield, which is another position that does not seem to suit him. He might be emptying his locker at the club when he gets back next week. With Shaw and Malacia, his left-back minutes will be minimal if at all and in other positions, it just does not fit for him. ★★★★
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Replaced Dalot 67′. Did not seem to strengthen United’s defence when he came on a seemed to irk De Gea. He has fallen far in the last season and I don’t think his future is guaranteed. If United are still seeking to sign another right-back, I think he will be gone this summer and rightly so. ★★★★
James Garner: Replaced van de Beek 71′. This was his first appearace of pre-season with him sitting out the previous three matches with a minot injury. He did well considering he was a few weeks behind some of his teammates because of that injury. I was hoping to see more of him on this leg of the tour – perhaps he will play across the remaining matches? ★★★★★★
Hannibal Mejbri: Replaced Sancho 70′. The French-born Tunisian international showed his fire from the very moment he entered the pitch against Villa. He needs to cool down a little as he gets frustrated too easily. He did put himself about during his cameo. I would like to see more of him in pre-season but I think he will be playing U23 football this season. ★★★★★★
Zidane Iqbal: Replaced Fred 74′. Got some more experience on the pitch after some good performances during this tour. He may find himself being involved in the Carabao Cup or even the UEFA Europa League this season, which should be great for him. I missed Savage in this match, who has played well alongside Iqbal. ★★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: Replaced Rashford 67′. Seemed to turn the attack into the defence with Villa pushing for that elusive equaliser until the very last minute of the match. I’m not sure what impact he wants to make at United as despite one assist, there has been very little output from him this summer. ★★★★★
Tahith Chong: Replaced Martial 73′. He was very alert on the ball at times. Booked for what seemed like a soft challenge. I am not too sure that he will be involved in the first team this season. A loan spell or an exit from the club could beckon for him as there are better players in this squad seeking a chance. ★★★★★★
Erik ten Hag: Set his team and tactics up well, which paid off in the first half with that 2-0 lead. United made some mistakes in the second half and did not get the chances to increase the lead. It was the first time his team had not won in pre-season but fitness is the main thing here and United are getting fitter. This next wee will have them running drills. ★★★★★★★
Goals: Jadon Sancho 25′, Matty Cash 42′ og; Leon Bailey 49′, Calum Chambers 90+3′
Assists: Luke Shaw 25′; Leon Bailey 90+3′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot (Wan-Bissaka 67′), Lindelof (Varane 67′), Maguire (Bailly 67′), Shaw (Malacia 67′); van de Beek (Garner 71′), Fred (Iqbal 74′); Sancho (Hannibal 70′), Fernandes (Telles 67′), Rashford (Elanga 67′); Martial (Chong 73′)
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Bishop, Kovar; Fish, Laird; Amad, Pellistri, Savage; Garnacho
Bookings: Tahith Chong 78′, Eric Bailly 90+2′; Philippe Coutinho 13′, John McGinn 51′
Written by John Walker