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5 talking points as Anthony Martial shines in Red Devils’ second pre-season win

Manchester United’s pre-season appears to be going according to plan or better for now. They broke a determined Melbourne win, beating them 4-1 after losing a goal as early as the fifth minute of the game.

After conceding an early goal, Erik ten Hag’s team unleashed wave after wave of attacks on the Australians. Scott McTominay eventually found an opening for them through a deflected goal.

Anthony Martial then put his side ahead with a clean finish from close range after doing some great work to create Anthony Elanga’s chance. Ten Hag massively reshuffled his pack in the second half, as he had done in the friendly against Liverpool.

The youngsters performed well in the second half and Marcus Rashford put United ahead by conceding a chance in the 78th minute. Edmond Lupancu then deflected the ball into his own net after a cross from Tahith Chong in the 90th minute to make it 4-1 for the Red Devils.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five talking points from Manchester United’s second pre-season friendly.


#1 Manchester United’s defense needs work

Melbourne win over Manchester United
Melbourne win over Manchester United

Melbourne Victory put together a quick and excellent team move in the fifth minute to open the scoring. They started from behind and it was a goal coach Tony Popovic would have been very proud of. But it also showed how ordinary Manchester United’s defense could be at times.

Both Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof looked off the rails and the duo’s proneness to error will be one of the issues Ten Hag will need to address. But on the other hand, they have signed the technically gifted Lisandro Martinez, as confirmed by Fabrizio Romano earlier today.

It’s time for Lindelof and Maguire to step up, or one of them will very likely be left out of this squad soon. Also, Eric Bailly created Rashford’s goal but was otherwise terrible at the back.

He made far too many mistakes and over the course of the two friendlies Ten Hag could have gotten an idea of ​​what to expect from the Ivory Coast international.

#2 Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage are really good again

Melbourne win over Manchester United
Melbourne win over Manchester United

Yes, we are talking specifically about Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage. Iqbal was once again a calm and collected presence at the heart of midfield. He showed quite a bit of strength to fend off opponents while also using his nimble skills and agility to swipe past them.

There’s an easygoingness about Savage and his decision making was once again on point. From a purely technical point of view they have a lot to offer and Manchester United will do well to find good clubs to loan these two youngsters to.

They need the minutes because there is definitely something special there. After holding their own against Liverpool in the first friendly, they played against Melbourne Victory today with great success.

lathe @z10ane This kid is better than Tominay and Fred. disprove me

#3 Patience was the name of the game for Manchester United today

Melbourne win over Manchester United
Melbourne win over Manchester United

The Red Devils had more freedom against Liverpool, which they used and did quite well. Today they faced a team set up for deep defense. They were ready to take the pressure and only retaliated when counterattacked.

But Manchester United persevered. Fred was the center of attention in the first half. He was involved in almost every move, swapping positions with Bruno Fernandes and popping up in tiny gaps.

United slowly began to include their wingers Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga as well. As they began to move the ball more easily from side to side, cracks began to appear. Scott McTominay came close with two goals before United finally found the breakthrough.

They kept tapping and eventually Melbourne Victory conceded and conceded two goals late in the first half that really tipped the game in United’s favour.

#4 Anthony Martial is looking good

Melbourne win over Manchester United
Melbourne win over Manchester United

Anthony Martial appears to be a man on a mission. He has now scored two goals in two friendlies. Yes, it’s wise not to get carried away but Martial brings plenty of fluidity to United’s attack and seems like the right man for the side.

Martial’s movement confused Melbourne Victory defenders and his tight control and ability to weave past opponents caused them many problems. His goal was well taken and an in-form Martial makes Manchester United’s attacking department even stronger.

He’s also looked hungry, sharp-witted, and eager to get involved. Then Martial was always at his best.

#5 Where does Cristiano Ronaldo fit in?

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United – Premier League

Which brings us to the question: What about Cristiano Ronaldo? Ten Hag doesn’t seem to be the type of coach who caters to players’ egos. Ronaldo, who has been looking for a departure from the club but is very likely to stay, may just need to fight and earn his place in the starting XI.

There is a consensus among fans and pundits alike that Ronaldo’s arrival has given United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the fluidity in attack. His positional rigidity and overwhelming pace of work are unlikely to be tolerated under Ten Hag, especially as the 37-year-old was unavailable in pre-season.

If Martial does well and Sancho and Rashford look in great form, will Ten Hag just roll out the red carpet for the legendary Portuguese striker? It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.


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Linh

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