It was David Moyes’ third game as Manchester United manager, a game which didn’t go how he would have hoped it would. It was his team’s second defeat in three games and we didn’t see the best of Manchester United. Yes, it is pre-season, and yes results don’t matter, but with the high expectations at that great club and David Moyes just starting out as manager, you’d have thought they would’ve wanted to get off to a flyer.
It was always going to be a more difficult game than their 5-1 stroll against the A-League All-Stars last weekend. Yokohama are halfway through their domestic season, and the conditions didn’t really help either. It was a game which was certainly entertaining, but one where United struggled to really dominate possession and be in control of play.
All eyes were understandably on United midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who was returning to his home country and millions of fans screaming and wanting to meet him; it must have sent chills through his spine. But this was a game of football, and all players were focused on one thing: winning. Although the most important thing for United’s players would have been fitness.
In fact, United started off in the worst possible way, conceding in the very first minute. Not something you associate Manchester United with is it? It all started after a very poor misplaced pass from Patrice Evra. He sent the pass into no-mans land, which was picked up by striker Marquinhos, who tried a shot from distance to test David De Gea early on. Some poor defending after that as United struggled to clear the ball meant the ball would drop very nicely for Marquinhos to this time fire it home and put his side 1-0 up against the Premier League Champions.
United did very well in responding and rallied to go in 2-1 up at the break thanks to goals from Jesse Lingard and an own goal from Yokohama’s Masakazu Toshiro. During the first half, new signing Wilfried Zaha looked rather promising down the right flank as he powered forward at every given opportunity to try and set up a team-mate; he was probably the most impressive United player throughout the whole game. Robin van Persie was unable to make a great impact, mainly due to him not being at the same fitness level as his team-mates and due to him not playing as much either. He ended up having to be subbed off at half-time through a thigh injury and replaced by Danny Welbeck.
Others who looked very promising were young Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard. Both have been given the chance to shine and impress this pre-season by Moyes and both have done just that so far. They both found pockets of space in plenty of areas of the pitch and were linking to take control of the ball in tighter areas and situations. Both played with a lot of confidence throughout and definitely caught their manager’s eye.
The second half began and United started it better and made changes as Ashley Young came on in place of Jesse Lingard. It was Ashley Young’s first appearance since his injury at the back end of last season, so it is understandable that he would have been a bit rusty. Danny Welbeck looked bright after coming on and was getting into some very promising goal scoring opportunities, and just his final touches let him down and it gave the defenders and goalkeeper time to close on him. The home side then equalized mid-way through the second half, and it is difficult for anyone to say that they didn’t deserve it. They had been piling on the pressure against United and got their reward for it. United’s defense had been slack for the majority of the game, so it was general justice really.
United still looked dangerous on the attack and they were creating a good amount of chances to get themselves back into the lead. Wilfried Zaha, unsurprisingly, was the catalyst to more-or-less every United attack. Since the left-back he was up against was 39 years-old, he was thoroughly entitled to run him ragged. He did just that, bombed down the right flank, got balls into the box when he could and it was an all-round quality and impressive performance by Zaha.
But United were unable to take those chances and were then punished for it late on, as for once, they were the team that conceded a late winner in a match. The home side thoroughly deserved their victory and it was a very exciting and entertaining game of football to watch for all fans. It was a big work-out for the United players, just what they needed in terms of preparation for the new season. The youngsters impressed, which will please David Moyes, and a second defeat is something that won’t bother Moyes in a way; but he still won’t be happy with his team’s rather dull performance. There is still much work to be done, but all that matters right now is fitness.
Written by OneFutbol