There’s was huge excitement around Louis van Gaal’s first game in charge of Manchester United, many fans stayed up until 6AM to watch Manchester United take on MLS outfit LA Galaxy. For those fans, like myself, who stayed up to watch the game were treated to a fantastic display from United which seen them beat Galaxy 7-0. An unexpected scoreline in many ways but it’s certainly a nice contrast to Moyes’ pre-season where we were losing to weak Asian outfits.
As seems to be mandatory in pre-season friendlies, especially when a new manager is assessing his squad, United basically played 2 completely different teams each half. The first half team as I’m going to call them was a strong one, along the lines of the strongest squad we could have played. Meanwhile the ‘second half team’ was certainly more of a mixture of youngsters and possibly not first choice players. Louis van Gaal confirmed he will do the same thing against Roma changing the squad around at half time, he also confirmed that Tyler Blackett and Tom Cleverley will be the only two players to complete 90 minutes.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Louis van Gaal confirmed that Rafael will miss the game against Roma due to a groin injury sustained in pre-season. Injuries have been a constant factor in his career and maybe it’s time we promoted a reserve player or bought a back-up or even someone to compete for that RB position. If van Gaal plays his 3-5-2 formation again today it seems pretty nailed on that Antonio Valencia will occupy the RWB position as he did vs LA Galaxy. Also at his press conference van Gaal confirmed that Kagawa will be part of the team that plays the second half.
I’m sure I’m not alone is saying that the most exciting part of our game is seeing new boy Ander Herrera in action again. He was superb versus the Galaxy and managed to bag himself 3 assists including a simply magnificent pass to Ashley Young. It may have only been one game but he seems like the type of player we’ve been crying out for for years now, he even managed to bag himself the man of the match award.
Equally exciting for me is seeing Tom Cleverley play, he had a dreadful season under David Moyes but I’m interested to see if Louis van Gaal can get the best out of him. A partnership of Cleverley and Herrera is very intriguing. Cleverley, speaking at the press conference stated “I watched the Netherlands in the World Cup and I think I’m going to be his type of player. I have to show that in training &, most importantly, games. I think there’s a place for me but I have to prove that.” The 24 year-old certainly has a lot to prove but he has the right mentality about the situation. He will be given his chance to impress as mentioned with a full 90 minutes tonight.
Normally I could predict or give my opinion on how the team should line-up but that’s basically impossible for a pre-season friendly, van Gaal has a huge squad and could choose anyone. I sincerely hope he gives Wilfried Zaha some game time. Moyes didn’t give him a chance last season and surely he like a few others should be given a chance to prove himself in the squad. Especially after the season Valencia, Young and Nani just had. I’d also like to see Chicharito get some game time, whether he’ll even stay at the club remains to be seen, he’s going to continue to struggle to get ahead of Rooney and van Persie.
I don’t think anyone can forget that one day in Manchester when AS Roma came to visit and with our last game finishing 7-0 who knows if history will repeat…
EDIT: The confirmed team for Manchester United has now been released, see it here.