Preview: Manchester United vs Inter Milan – Vidic and Zaha return

by Tom Parker

Manchester United play Italian opposition for the second time in three days as they take on Inter Milan in Washington, hoping to continue their winning record under Louis van Gaal.

The Reds saw off AS Roma last time out in their first game of the International Champions Cup and Inter, boasting former United captain and cult-hero Nemanja Vidic who joined the Italians on a free transfer after eight seasons at Old Trafford over the summer, are next in-line.

Van Gaal’s men were a little sloppy against the Giallorossi on Saturday in a sweltering encounter but made it count with goals late in the first half from Wayne Rooney (two) either side of a delicious Juan Mata chip. Miralem Pjanic and Francesco Totti helped Roma create a tense finish.

Manchester United team news

Van Gaal is likely to continue to persist with the 3-4-1-2 system which he has favoured thus far during his short spell in charge of the club, revealing that he believes playing three in defence will allow Mata, Rooney and Robin van Persie to flourish further up the pitch.

Javier Hernandez could play a much more prominent part against Inter, a team he has been linked with in the past, while Wilfried Zaha will finally get his first minutes of pre-season after being frozen out thus far by van Gaal.

Rafael will play no further part in the tour after sustaining a groin injury, making Antonio Valencia a decent bet to play the full 90 in the right wing-back role. Van Gaal is again likely to rotate at the half time stage as he continues to assess the options at his disposal.

Inter Milan team news

Inter were able to take Real Madrid to penalties in their first game of the International Champions Cup and came out victorious against an experimental Madrid side.

Vidic is expected to retain his place at the heart of the Inter defence while fellow summer signing Yann M’Vila could also feature from the start after a substitute appearance against Real. Hernanes, Rodrigo Palacio, Hugo Campagnaro and Ricky Alvarez are all unavailable, while Fredy Guarin is also unlikely to play.

With United and Inter occupying first and second in the group respectively, both sides would take a giant stride towards featuring in the final of the tournament with a victory.

Previous meetings

The two sides have plenty of history having met in the Champions League on a number of occasions down the years. United drew with Inter in the San Siro in the 2008/09 season before beating the Italian’s 2-0 at home in a season which saw them reach the final.

Inter and the Reds also met at the quarter final stage of the same competition in 1999, when a Paul Scholes goal enough to send United through to the next round against Inter’s arch rivals Juventus. This is the first meeting between the two sides on neutral soil.

Key men

Wayne Rooney has been in good form thus far finding the net four times in 90 minutes of pre-season action. The forward looks in good shape and could prove to be a thorn in the side of Vidic, Rannochia and Juan Jesus who are expected to start in defence for the Italians. Danny Welbeck’s lethal pace could also be a major issue for a back four which is not particularly fast.

All the focus will of course be on Nemanja Vidic as he plays against the club where he is held in the highest regard. While it may be a strange occasion for the menacing Serb, you can bet Vidic, the ultimate professional, will be focused on helping his new team to victory and he’ll need to be at his sparkling best to keep out a team who have scored ten goals in two games so far.


Inter somewhat laboured to a 1-1 draw with Madrid last time out who, minus Gareth Bale, had relatively few first team players in the side. Many expect United to extend their winning run in this one as the beginning of the season draws ever closer.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Inter Milan

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