Location: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
As Manchester United’s productive and successful pre-season draws to a close they play AC Milan in their final warm up game ahead of the new season. This encounter against the Italian giants will be the last of United’s International Champions Cup campaign. They have a perfect record to this point with two wins from two against Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. A convincing win will see The Reds lift this years trophy, a feat they achieved back in 2014 when they beat Liverpool in America.
Milan’s form has been the complete opposite, losing their ICC matches against Bayern Munich and Benfica. Additionally, they could only manage a 1-1 draw against Serie C side Novara. It’s fair to say they will be looking for improvement because as things stand it’s not boding too well for their upcoming campaign.
United will of course be without Eric Bailly who suffered yet another unfortunate injury in United’s last ICC game against Spurs. The injury will see the Ivory Coast player out until Christmas. Today’s big breaking news that United have agreed an £80 million fee for Leicester City and England defender Harry Maguire will be welcomed by United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who needs to reconstruct his defence this season. With Maguire not yet officially a United player, players like Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe look destined to get some more game time. Stories emerging this evening that Paul Pogba has not travelled with the squad either due to back spasms and therefore won’t be involved in the game. United will want to ensure that the Frenchman will be 100% for United’s opener against Chelsea a week on Sunday.
Romelu Lukaku and Matteo Darmian have also not even travelled with the squad as the possibly pursue moves away from the club. Darmian has been linked with a host of Serie A clubs as well as Spanish side, Valencia. Lukaku looks destined to leave this summer and he has stayed at home as talks continue with all parties about a potential swap deal with Juventus that would see Paulo Dybala move in the opposite direction to join United.
As for Milan, Mattia Caldara remains absent as he recovers from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament injury. Theo Hernandez, a recent arrival from Real Madrid, is also absent, having suffered a torn ankle ligament in the friendly against Bayern Munich.
Milan will also be without the services of Striker Patrick Cutrone following his move to Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week.
Last time out:
United and Milan played each other in last season’s ICC tournament, the game finished 1.1 in normal time with United triumphing on penalties. The two teams haven’t played each other in a competitive match since 2010. On that occasion United put on a masterclass at the San Siro winning 4.0 in a Champions League Last 16 Second-Leg tie.
Pre-season friendlies always have the potential to throw up some surprises. However judging by both teams respective form so far this summer you have to say everything points towards a Manchester United victory. The other factor to consider is that AC Milan are some way behind The Reds with their preparations as their season doesn’t start until the back end of August. United, who are buoyant after a largely positive summer on and off the pitch will be hoping to take advantage of any fragility shown by the Italians. If they can do that and put in a positive performance they should get comfortable win, which would be the perfect preparation for the first game of the season against Chelsea next Sunday.
Score prediction: Manchester United 3-0 AC Milan.