Due to being on holiday and other stuffs, I’ve missed most of the matches in the pre-season tour but I managed to watch this, the last of the tour, last night and it was a decent game against a side currently midway through their football season (and so fully fit), in good form (unbeaten in their last ten matches) and are well placed to challenge for the Swedish league title.
Nani started for United and looked to be really at it for this one and for half an hour was the best player on the pitch as he terrorised the AIK full-back down the right flank and set up several scoring opportunities for us. Unfortunately, he then suffered a slight groin strain aand had to be substituted which was a real shame because Nani in this kind of mood is a rare treat.
Again, Anderson started and whilst he wasn’t as effective as he was in the first game of the tour that I watched, he still managed to complete the full ninety minutes and was tracking back and tackling right into that ninetieth minute which is a good sign because he’s clearly been working on his fitness – something which has let him down a bit in the past. In fact, he was perhaps our most effective midfield “destroyer” in this game and he put in plenty of excellent tackles – not a side of his game he’s perhaps renown for.
Our defence was made up of a much more familiar looking starting line-up in Rafael, Evans, Vidic and Evra and it was also good to see Vidic make the full ninety minutes although Evans also had to be subbed following a knock.
Generally, the defence worked well but seemed to get themselves into a bit of a muddle for AIK’s goal just after half-time. Vidic and Evans seemed to find themselves hopelessly out of position which opened a path for the AIK player like the parting of the Red Sea. To be fair, Quaison’s goal for AIK was a beautiful curling shot right into the top corner of Ben Amos’ (who had just come on at half-time for Lindegaard) net.
This seemed to spur us on though and we ran AIK ragged for a spell before eventually getting a goal back via Angelo Henriquez who is a player I have not seen much of before.
The jury is still out on him for me. I liked his tenacity and the fact that despite a few offside decisions going against him, he never let his head drop and kept plugging away – his goal (his first for the senior side) was just reward for his endeavour but I think I’d need to see more of him. He’s only 19 but looks much older, is quite a stocky-framed lad and whilst strong, seems to lack pace. He spent some time at Wigan on loan this year but only made four appearances for them (still managed to score a goal, mind).
Along with the likes of Lingard and Januzaj, he seems to be another who Moyes has earmarked for a few first team appearances this season (perhaps in the League Cup or something).
Wilfried Zaha got a good eighty minutes or so before being replaced by Welbeck and once again, he looked a handful and a great attacking threat although I think he needs to learn when he has his man beat and it is time to release the ball – several times he tried his tricks and then tried them again only to either get the ball stuck under his feet or for the defender to simply nick it off him having been given a second chance.
Bebe also came on after around 80 minutes (I thought he’d left United, to be honest) and he’s still a strange one. He took up the left wing position and was afforded acres of space by AIK time and time again and in the last ten minutes must have put in at least as many crosses – at least half of which were very good and caused AIK all kinds of problems. His pace is also undeniable. So, that seems to be Bebe in a nutshell at the moment – incredibly quick and his crossing ability has vastly improved since we first saw him a couple of years ago. His actual footballing ability remains hard to judge though because there wasn’t much of it on display during his ten minute cameo.
All in all, this was a very good game to watch. All our players did well and everyone is clearly eager to impress the new manager and stake their claim in his team for the season which is now just days away.
I can’t help but feel that we still need a big signing in midfield though. Giggs played eighty minutes here alongside Carrick (who seems to be continuing the excellent form he showed last season) and Anderson. Other than those, the only midfield players missing were Kagawa and Cleverley. I would put question marks over four out of those five which really is a worry for a team hoping to challenge for top honours home and abroad this season.
Over to you, David.