It’s been a busy summer in Manchester as United have tried to get all the pieces in place for the upcoming season. With a new manager in Jose Mourinho and star signings like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, United are looking to get back into the Premier League title race.
United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, with one of the largest fan bases. This means that the team will jet off to places like the United States and China. This year’s preseason tour was set in China, where the team was to play two matches, one in Shanghai and one in Beijing. They were pummeled in the first game against Borussia Dortmund, losing 4-1. The second match never happened as their derby with Manchester City was cancelled after the pitch in the Chinese capital was deemed unfit for play after massive rainfall.
So United traveled all the way to China to end up playing just a single match. This threw a wrench in Mourinho’s plans as he now had one less game to get players used to his system and shake off the cobwebs. Only getting one game out of such a long trip is not optimal preparation for a team that only had five friendlies booked to start with.
Before the trip to China, United defeated newly promoted Championship side Wigan Athletic 2-0. It was a pedestrian affair where United were missing several players. But it was the first step to get things going as Mourinho looks to bring United back to the top.
Ibrahimovic is the big signing of the summer, and the talismanic Swede made his United debut in Gothenburg, Sweden against Galatasaray. He scored the opening goal of the match in the 4th minute and gave United fans a taste of what he’s capable of. After a lot of changes, as is common in friendlies, United ended up taking a 5-2 win. It showed some potential, and Ibrahimovic getting a goal right away is always a good thing.
— Transfer Site (@TransferSite) August 1, 2016
The cancelled game in China put a lot more pressure on Mourinho to get as many players possible minutes in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial match against Everton. Instead of being a normal laissez-faire testimonial, it was a lot more competitive. It ended in a scoreless draw, but United used 22 players in the final friendly before things kick off against Premier League champions Leicester City on Sunday in the Community Shield.
Yes, the Community Shield isn’t that important, but it is a competitive game and it’s seen as the start of the domestic season. Taking on Leicester will be a good final test before they enter league play the following weekend.
There’s still no word on if Paul Pogba will join the Red Devils or not, which would change the whole dynamic of the team if they got a world-class midfielder like Pogba, and Ibrahimovic and Rooney haven’t played more than 90 minutes together as a striking tandem. With Ibrahimovic as the most forward striker and Rooney playing behind him in the No. 10 role, it’s vital that the pair strikes up a connection, and fast.
Then there’s the reports of the players that Mourinho doesn’t want on the first team, with Bastian Schweinsteiger topping the list. Not a single player has left the club yet, so there’s still a lot to be done with just nine days to go before they take on Bournemouth in the league opener.