Manchester United commenced their pre-season tour the right way by securing a 2-0 victory against Perth Glory. Goals from Marcus Rashford and James Garner in the final half an hour secured the game for the Premier League giants in a promising display.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded two completely different lineups for the two halves and to spectacular success.
1. Impressive Tactics
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been harping on from quite a long time as to how eager he was for the pre-season tour. In Perth, fans got a taste of just why the Norwegian was looking forward to it.
This side had a much more pronounced attacking intent. Although the fluidity of the play was more evident in the second-half where more experienced and attack-oriented players dotted the field, it was an all-round impressive showing from the Red Devils.
In both halves. United kept up their high-press, punishing Perth who are used to building their plays from the back. This is a tactic that United were expected to pursue and although they are late to the party, it is one that is bound to work wonders for them once perfected.
2. Daniel James
The opening half gave United fans their first glimpse of Daniel James. To put it simply, the hype that was placed on him was accurate and then some. The Welsh forward was impeccable in his forward runs and brought the kind of electric pace that United have lacked apt use of in their attacks.
In him, it certainly seems that the Red Devils have found the solution to their right-back woes. After practically paralyzing Perth’s fullbacks, James repeatedly fed the ball into the box and would have had numerous assists to his name if they had fallen at the right feet.
What remains to be seen now is if this level of brilliance can be kept up against Premier League backlines.
3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Another new face in United’s lineup was Aaron Wan-Bissaka who was deployed as a wing-back in the second-half of the game. For much of the duration that he was one the pitch, Wan-Bissaka functioned as a right-winger itself and delivered promising forward-runs.
His tackles were true to the chart-topping Premier League stats from last season and it is fair to say that any one-on-one situation he gets into will work to the club’s favor.
Solskjaer was left without much quality to choose from at this wing last season and now in James and Wan-Bissaka, he may just have found an electric duo to make the right flank a dreaded one.
4. The Future Is Bright
While the new signings were certainly the stars of the show, the pre-season if often the crucial time when youth academy graduates make their mark. Against Perth, the future of Manchester United appeared bright.
While Tahith Chong lacked a bit of confidence in the first-half, the displays put up by Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood, and James Garner were highly commendable.
Gomes was an electric wild-card up-front and it was really unfortunate that Greenwood didn’t find the back of the net after multiple staunch efforts including ones that hit the woodwork. Lastly, Garner’s goal was practically his first touch of the game after being subbed on for Luke Shaw and the England U-18s captain proved his versatility yet again.
It is fair to say that these lads are the ones to keep an eye on for the rest of the tour.
5. Axel Tuanzebe – The Option to Keep?
In the first-half, Solskjaer fielded a back-three of Ashley Young, Phil Jones, and Axel Tuanzebe. The 21-year-old was immensely promising for Aston Villa last season and fans have long debated whether he should be kept this season or loaned out to gain more Premier League experience.
Now it certainly appears that if Tuanzebe is able to continue putting up impressive performances for the rest of the tour, Solskjaer may be able to gather enough trust in him to include him in his plans for the season.
It certainly seems like a wiser bet than breaking the world-record transfer fee for Harry Maguire.