First Half XI: Romero; Dalot, Tuanzebe, Jones, Young; Matic, Andreas; Chong, James, Lingard; Martial
Manchester United’s pre-season tour got off to a winning start with a solid 2-0 win against Perth Glory. United started each half with two completely different lineups, with both goals coming in the second half of an intriguing game.
All eyes were on Daniel James as he made his Manchester United debut in the first half of the game, with United’s other new signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka named on the substitutes bench. James did not disappoint, and was easily the standout player of the first half, impressing with his direct runs in behind the Perth defence and demonstrating good movement and awareness. United found chances hard to come by in a congested first half, with Perth putting 10 men behind the ball in a bid to restrict United getting in behind them. United interestingly played a high-press and this was effective, winning the ball high up the pitch in good areas to threaten the Perth defence, though clear goalscoring chances were limited. United fans were keen to see how Axel Tuanzebe fared in a United shirt for the first time since returning from his loan spell, and he had a solid game paired with Phil Jones at the back, with the United defence rarely threatened by a defensive Perth side. While James starred on United’s left, young Tahith Chong had a quiet half on the right of United’s attack, only threatening with one mazy run in which he was left crumpled in the Perth penalty box. No penalty was given. It was a positive half of football, if not exhilarating. United fans may have been left slightly concerned by the sight of Nemanja Matic giving the ball away under little pressure several times, and will hope this isn’t a sign of things to come after Matic faded in the back end of the last Premier League campaign.
Second Half XI: J Pereira; Wan-Bissaka, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw; Pogba, McTominay, Mata; Rashford, Gomes, Greenwood
The second half saw the introduction of United’s second summer signing, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who had a solid half on United’s right side, playing effectively as a right-winger, although the half was lit up by another United youngster Angel Gomes, playing on the left side of United’s attack. The speed of play increased early in the second half with the trickery of Gomes, intelligence of Juan Mata who played centrally, and the speed of both Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Not long after Marcos Rojo attempted to break the deadlock on the 51st minute with an ambitious 40-yard effort that sailed high and wide, it was Rashford who scored United’s first goal of the tour with a low first-time shot, after being set up by a fantastic piece of skill from Paul Pogba on the edge of United’s box. United tried to kick on with Mason Greenwood going close on the 65th minute, missing a sitter from 8 yards out, putting the ball wide of the post with only the goalkeeper Reddy to beat. The game started to open up in the final third of the match with Perth managing to break into United’s defensive half several times, although Joel Pereira was never troubled in the United goal. Mason Greenwood showed a glimpse of his potential, weaving his way around 3 Perth defenders into the box and winning a United corner, but this wasn’t his finest half of football. After Luke Shaw was taken off in the 82nd minute with what looked like a small niggle, his replacement James Garner needed only 2 minutes to double United’s lead, with a brilliant 20-yard drive into the bottom corner of Perth’s goal in the 84th minute.
There are plenty of positives for Ole and his staff to take from United’s first pre-season game; the clean sheet kept will encourage a much-maligned defence, and there was evidence of some good combination play and work on the training pitch showing in a competitive match. United now look forward to playing local rivals Leeds United in their next tour game on Wednesday, and will hope to kick on with another good performance and another good result, as Ole shapes his squad ready for the upcoming season. A good start.
First half player ratings: Romero (6) Dalot (6) Tuanzebe (7) Jones (6) Young (7) Matic (5) Andreas (6) Chong (5) James (8) Lingard (7) Martial (6)
Second half player ratings: J Pereira (6) Wan-Bissaka (6) Smalling (6) Rojo (5) Shaw (6) Pogba (7) McTominay (6) Mata (7) Rashford (7) Gomes (8) Greenwood (5)