United began their pre-season tour of the United States with a routine win over the LA Galaxy and here are some of the observations made during the absorbing encounter
Rashford and Martial not about to be upstaged by Lukaku
JM started Rashford, and the Englishman responded with two goals in the first quarter of the game – narrowly missing out on a hat-trick. If the youngster continues to score regularly then its only a matter of time before he becomes undroppable. Martial started the second half alongside Lukaku and seemed in no mood to be upstaged by the former Everton striker. The French forward looked intent on making his mark and didn’t pass to the Belgian on several occasions (despite scoring himself and assisting Mkhitaryan), rather electing to take aim from range. Lukaku had a few chances but was unable to mark his debut with a goal.
United need to adapt to get best of Lukaku .. or vice versa
The Belgian’s first touch had dominated much of the build-up, however, Lukaku’s inability to score had more to do with cohesion with new team mates. Despite some intelligent running and hold up play the striker did not find himself with too many clear cut opportunities. It is still early days, but United would need to get the best out of Lukaku – by either playing to his strengths or re-orientating him to United’s style of play. The former option being the more logical given United’s struggles to score while the striker remained prolific for a modest Everton side. If United are to get the best out of Lukaku, there is a sense Pogba will be key – with the midfielder laying on the clearest opportunity to his close pal.
United’s have a strong squad
With the Club playing in the Champions League this season, United’s squad will be stretched to its limit. However, it appears Jose has the squad to cope. Fielding 2 separate elevens in either half, the Portuguese manager should have been impressed by some of his fringe players. There were a number of impressive appearances with the likes of Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah and Pereira in particular, impressing against a (admittedly) relatively weak opposition.
Andreas Pereira looking the part
Following an impressive loan in Spain, the midfielder had indicated his desire to fight for a place in United’s squad. Against Galaxy, he showed what he could offer to JM’s side. Displaying good technique, composure and strength that belies his stature. The 21 year old’s dangerous delivery from corners caused a fair amount of problems for Galaxy defenders. Pereira was like a young Xavi in United’s midfield (high praise but its only pre-season). Should he continue to impress, its only a matter of time before he’s firmly in JM’s plans. I predicted some seasons ago the youngster would be the end of Mata at United – there was nothing in his performance to change that view.
Pereira oozing class
Jose continuing with 3 central defenders
JM is not known for his tactical flexible, especially when it comes to his preferred 4-2-3-1 and has rarely strayed from it in the past. Well until last season when United’s defensive frailties resulted in a switch to a back three – previously tried unsuccessfully under LVG. Against a weak Galaxy side and despite being a pre-season game, the gaffer surprisingly continued with 3 CBs throughout the match. It remains to be seen whether the move was in preparation for the new season, or because United now have an abundance of central defenders all needing game time.
Fellaini still has much to offer
The Belgian is one of United’s most divisive players – splitting opinions among sections of United’s following. Fellaini did not have the most convincing start last term, yet Jose stuck by his man – despite several high profile indiscretions. The player was rumored to be in search of pastures new in January but remained and continued to enjoy the manager’s faith – partly repaid with decisive contributions in the run up to Europa League glory. Fellaini was on the score sheet against the Galaxy – a reminder of the Belgian’s goal scoring ability from midfield when not playing defensively.
Big season ahead for Mkhitaryan . . . down the middle
Another goal scorer on the evening, the Armenian goes into his second season knowing there is much room for improvement. Despite looking impressive and scoring impressive goals especially in the run up to the Europa League triumph, the forward had a stop-start season and never appeared settled. Unsurprising as he is a player who takes time to settle into a new side. His goal against Galaxy was a result of a run through midfield, adding credence to the fact that the Armenian should be deployed down the middle – where some of his best work for United has been done.
Joel Pereira not quite ready…..yet
The young keeper conceded two goals in the second half through no direct fault of his, however, there were other passages of play where the young stopper’s inexperience was clearly visible. Despite all his promise, Joel is still some way off being a United regular and this match served to highlight certain aspects of his game still lacking. He is still a baby in goalkeeping terms so there is no cause for alarm.
Demi Mitchell in Jose’s thoughts?
The attacker-turned-fullback was the only United player introduced in course of either half – replacing Fosu-Mensah in the closing stages of the game. There may be no significance to his brief cameo, yet when Shaw’s situation is considered, it could be interpreted in any number of ways. However, the LB position is set to be one of the most contested positions given the abundance of options available to Jose.
and finally . . . no hiding place for Wenger
Wenger out!! Moyes in??? LOL
… even at a United game, Jose’s arch nemesis seems unable to escape the ire of Arsenal fans. This one wanting former United United manager Moyes instead. Really?