Say it quietly, because after all we are still only in pre-season, but the Louis van Gaal revolution at Manchester United could actually be a title-winning one in his first term in charge, if his warm-up results are anything to go by.
A tour of America that has seen the Dutchman topple LA Galaxy, Roma, Inter (on penalties) and Real Madrid ended with a win over arch rivals Liverpool and the International Champions Cup trophy.
Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingaard scored the goals in a 3-1 win for the 5/1 title shots, with plenty of lessons to learn from the encounter. Here’s three of them:
Meet the English Barcelona
There’s been a few instances of Man United flexing their new-found passing muscles during their stint stateside, starting with the below one-touch show against Inter and followed by Ashley Young’s strike against Real Madrid.
The Red Devils look well set in impersonating Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka inventors, having followed up with more slick moves against the Reds, especially for Lindgaard’s goal (which you can watch in the below highlights):
Raheem Sterling will fill Luis Suarez’s shoes
Liverpool’s young star showed signs at the back end of last term that he could be the focal point of the Anfield club’s attack, even with the Uruguayan hotshot present.
After terrorising Phil Jones and Chris Smalling against United, winning a penalty off the former, and scoring twice in pre-season already, Sterling’s 20/1 odds to be Player of the Year isn’t the worst ante-post bet to make this term.
Without recruits at centre-half, United can’t challenge
For all their pleasing results and impressive adaption to Van Gaal’s new ways, a constant theme of United’s pre-season has been their abject defending.
England pair Jones and Smalling haven’t convinced in their ability to start in a back three, while Jonny Evans didn’t have his best outing either.
Mats Hummels can’t join quick enough.
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