Manchester United vs Real Madrid Match Analysis
|Source: The Guardian|
The final game of Manchester United’s US Tour took them to the Hard Rock Stadium to face European champions Real Madrid. United looked to bounce back from the disappointing result against Liverpool at the weekend and finish the US Tour with a much needed boost of positivity.
When the squad was announced it looked like Manchester United were reverting back to a 4 at the back having previously played with a 3 at the back for the majority of the tour. But Jose Mourinho surprised many by starting with a back 3 and playing Scott McTominay at the back alongside Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah. However, the most notable change to the team sheet was a first start for Manchester United new boy Fred, he played in a midfield along Ander Herrera and the star man of the US Tour so far Andreas Pereira. Additionally, the front 2 of Juan Mata and Alexis Sánchez were given another run out after both looking very impressive throughout the pre-season so far
Manchester United XI: David De Gea, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Eric Bailly (c), Scott McTominay, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmain, Ander Herrera, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Juan Mata, Alexis Sánchez
Real Madrid XI: Kiko Casilla, Álvaro Odriozola, Javier Sánchez, Theo Hernámdez, Marcos Llorente, Federico Valverde, Dani Ceballos, Gareth Bale, Vinicius Júnior, Karim Benzema (c)
The first half of the game was mostly dominated by United who looked at it and full of energy. The team pressed high and tried to catch Madrid in possession, something that if we carry on doing for the season will be a huge asset. Additionally, the attacking partnership of Juan Mata and Alexis Sánchez looked great as they continued to connect on the field and look extremely lively for most of the first half. And it was this combination that led to United’s first chance, when in the 5th minute Sánchez clipped a ball into the ball that Mata initially controlled poorly, before hitting a shot into the side netting. In the 10th minute these two once again combined for another Mata shot this time that was well saved by the Madrid goalkeeper Casilla.
United finally made the breakthrough in the 18th minute when Darmain bombed forward and put at great ball in that was slashed home from Sánchez, who once again is impressive in the final third scoring his 2ndgoal of the US Tour. And it wasn’t long after that United got there second with a well worked United move finished off emphatically by Ander Herrera, the build-up play that led to the goal, from Juan Mata and Alexis Sánchez once again has to be applauded. Another bright spark to the first half was the nice flashes from Fred, who looked really composed on the ball and exciting when he started to dribble, in his start for United. Madrid had a mostly quiet half, who were contained well by the United defence. However, one lapse in concentration in defence for United let Karim Benzema slip in and slot home a goal from point blank range to pull one back for Madrid just before half time.
The second half was a sloppy one for United, who gave away the ball a lot in the early stages of the half. United just looked to contain Madrid rather than attack their side, this looked due to the fact that many of the United players were dead on their feet after playing so many of these pre-season games. However, we did see flashes from some of the players, with the most impressive being Sánchez, who managed to hold up the ball extremely well whenever he got it. Overall, the United defence managed to contain the young Madrid attack very well with all the players putting in good shifts in order to keep the game at 2-1. This meant that United finished of their US pre-season Tour with a good victory and a renewed positivity.
To conclude, this game saw a huge improvement in performances from the Liverpool game, not only cause of the goals United scored but because of the energy that the players gave to the game. Especially in the first half, United played with a real intensity that we haven’t previously seen in pre-season so far and they were hugely impressive on the attack with players like Mata and Sánchez combining very well in the first third. And a shout out has to go to one of the star men of the Tour Andreas Pereira who once again looked composed and intelligent on the ball in the centre of the park. From this game we can see that there is much to look forward to for United fans and that there is no need for all the negativity surround the and fan base at the moment.