Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United’s pre-season is slowly nearing the end, as Erik Ten Hag’s team played their penultimate friendly match before the start of the new campaign. French side Lens visited Old Trafford on Saturday, eager to show their worth after qualifying for the Champions League this coming season.
But apart from a shock goal they scored in the first half, Man United proved to be a handful for them, winning 3-1, thanks to an early second half blitz, which had seen United score three goals in the opening 15 minutes. Marcus Rashford, Antony and Casemiro all got on the scoresheet in what was a nice day at Old Trafford for all the fans, before the season opener at the same place on 14 August.
This match most people will remember for the detail that happened after 23 minutes, when Florian Sotoca managed to score a beautiful goal from more than 40 yards, when he lobbed Andre Onana who was far in front of his own goal. Naturally, this strike immediately became a viral video on social media, where casual (non-Man United) fans started criticising the Cameroonian goalkeeper for conceding such a silly goal.
But this goal was a good test for everyone who wanted to see from other people how much understanding they have of this sport. Onana was correct to stand far outside of his penalty area, ready to be part of the play if ball ever went his way from his defenders. What was not supposed to happen is for Man United’s defence to lose the ball in such a lackadaisical fashion, with Diogo Dalot giving the possession way too easily, making United’s defence vulnerable to swift attacks from the opposition.
Onana actually had a good first showing in front of fans at Old Trafford, amassing a total of six saves, making 62 touches of the ball in the process, highlighting a new role for a Manchester United goalkeeper.
After arriving from Ajax, Antony had an underwhelming season last year, in which he failed to show why United paid such huge amount of money for his signature. But now in the pre-season, Antony starts showing he is waking up and that he is ready to offer more on a regular basis. In this match he shined on the right wing, first assisting Rashford for the equaliser, before scoring Man United’s second goal himself. He now has two goals and an assist in his last two games against top level teams. Hopefully the Brazilian’s game will click this season and United will be able to hurt opposition from the right wing as well as from the left.
This match against Lens was a good chance to see a glimpse of how Ten Hag thinks and how he could possibly line up his team for the season opener against Wolves. That Garnacho started on the left ahead of Jadon Sancho tells a story in itself, and the Argentine delivered. He was dangerous throughout and he provided the assist for Antony’s goal, too. That he wanted to get the iconic number seven shirt, which went to big signing Mason Mount, shows his confidence in his abilities. With a different number on his back, the fans will nevertheless keep expecting excitement from the youngster’s performances.
The post What We Learned From Manchester United Win Against Lens appeared first on Stretty Rant.