A-League All-Stars 1-5 Manchester United: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

Great performance. United’s comfortable victory against the A-League All-Stars makes the 1-0 loss last weekend look like nothing more than a blip.

It was a satisfying victory because the whole team played well. United pressed the All-Stars all over the pitch and had a high tempo from the first whistle. Not giving  them any time on the ball forced them into mistakes and United capitalised on them.

Pre-season is all about fitness, not results, and today’s energetic performance was a world away from the lethargic loss in Bangkok.

Going forward, the variety of chances we made was great – through balls, crosses, shots from the edge of the box et al. We weren’t dependent on any player to create chances nor were we dependent on any one individual to finish and that strength in the whole team is fantastic.

Young, hungry and ready. Academy product Jesse Lingard became the first player to score in the David Moyes era with a lovely cool finish early in the game which he followed up with a stunning drive in the second half.

It is extremely fitting that the first goal scored in the post Ferguson era was by an academy player. The wily old Scot may have left but the traditions he left behind are going to continue  for years to come.

This is the second tour in a row that Lingard has been part of and you imagine that next season, he will be given his chances to prove himself with the first team especially after a performance like today.

As well as Lingard we had the likes of Zaha, Keane, Januzaj, Cleverley, Jones and Welbeck in the side. We’ve got such a plethora of talented youngsters in this side that the squad that can really have an impact with the first team this season.

Zaha looks awesome. Last season, United fans got used to our wingers doing diddly squat but Zaha has already shown us that it won’t be the case next year.

You can tell that Zaha is going to create chances left, right and centre. Beating the man and getting a cross in is his bread and butter.

He was really unlucky not to get a goal today but it doesn’t take away from what was a great full debut for United.

Hernandez is going to love playing with Zaha more than most. He always makes the right runs in the box but our wingers hardly ever delivered a good ball into the box. That will change now that Zaha is in the squad.

A lot is going to be expected of the 20-year-old but there is no reason why he can’t cope with the added pressure. Last year, Crystal Palace fans looked towards Zaha to inspire their play-off push and he delivered emphatically in the biggest games of his career to date.

A goalscoring Welbeck. David Moyes was singing Welbeck’s praises this week and he responded by getting on the score sheet, twice.

Welbeck was heavily involved in the build up to Lingard’s goal and finished calmly when he got put through on goal. He followed that up with a lovely header in the second half from a Van Persie corner. He could of had a first half hat-trick if he had taken all of his chances but the mere fact he scored is so good for him.

Last year, Welbeck was a fantastic team player. Ferguson hardly ever played him as a central striker and the media lynched him for his poor goal return but it didn’t tell the story of how well he played.

If he can use today’s goals as a starting point and build up his confidence, Welbeck would have it all as a player. His link-up play last year was superb but he didn’t score enough goals and he knew that. He would of been working hard on his finishing in pre-season and if he can turn the page in that respect, he’ll become and even more important player next year.

Robin van Captain. He’s back. Van Persie came on to get his first game time under Moyes and got himself a goal as well as the man of the match award as voted for by the fans (although Lingard certainly should have won it).

He became captain when Evra left the pitch and oozed his typical Dutch class with every touch of the ball. Moyes will be looking towards Van Persie to spearhead his first season in charge at United and there is no reason why the 29-year-old can’t score even more goals this year than his debut return of 30.

Picture: Twitter/GemmaThompson

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