Man United Season Preview and Hopes (2 Games In): Preseason Breakdown
First of all, thanks for reading this blog. I’m new to blogging so bear with me. This piece is the first of two that will look at Manchester United’s preseason and give my hopes, expectations and dreams for the season.
Going into the first game of preseason United had signed Dutch prospect Memphis Depay (Memphis from here on in), Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian and the big one, Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger. Despite the four signings the biggest surprise for me was a switch to a 4–2–3–1. United kicked into gear playing a 4–5–1/4–3–3 at the back end of last season and it seemed the famed philosophy was kicking into gear. So seeing LVG switch to a new formation as the team signed players who seemed to fit the shape from last season perfectly was a surprise as it made competition for places even more fierce.
The majority of our midfield is suited to the shape but the surprise for me was Memphis playing behind Wayne Rooney. Memphis showed flashes of his ability in the role but everyone (except LVG) could see the need for Memphis to play on the left and have the space to run at and terrorise fullbacks. Versatile Dutch midfielder played on the left side of a centre back pairing as he displayed his intelligence that made up for his lack of size and strength although many fans worried about his ability to deal with Premier League strikers and the physicality that comes with the position.
United were solid in July and even had some of the younger players putting on great displays. Particularly the Belgian duo of Adnan Januzaj and Andreas Pereira. Andreas continued his great form from the under-20 World Cup and Adnan, displaying a stronger physique gave some brilliant performances leading the line.
My star players in the preseason were Juan Mata, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw. Darmian showed the intelligence and defensive nous that saw him dislodging Antonio Valencia with ease. Luke Shaw reminded everyone of his incredible potential with lung busting runs along the left flank and a turn of pace we haven’t seen since Giggsy in the early 00’s. Juan Mata continued to show everyone that he’s more than capable of playing on the right hand side displaying incredible movement, and showing his breathtaking passing ability (particularly against Barca).
With the exception of the PSG game its fair to say preseason was enjoyable for all Reds. The PSG game saw Basti and Carrick starting together at a midfield base and showed that the two are too similar to each other as they pretty much offered the same thing and United were outdone for pace and intensity in the middle.
Thanks for reading, the next piece will come after the 1st leg against Club Brugge and will look at how the team have performed over the first 3 games and the expectations and dreams for the season.