Manchester United kept their second clean sheet in two as Erik ten Hag’s Reds defeated Lyon 1-0 in pre-season.
Despite creating many chances in the opening half, Manchester United failed to put the ball in the back of the next, with the score remaining a deadlock as the referee blew the first 45 minutes to a close.
Erik ten Hag was seen to be less than happy at points in the first half, and introduced an entirely new outfield XI for the second part of the tie.
It took just four minutes for Donny van de Beek to open the scoring, where the Dutchman volleyed in Dan Gore’s cross into the left hand side netting.
The goal was the ultimate decider for the fixture, with the tie ending in a 1-0 victory for the Red Devils.
#1 – Kovář has a fighting chance
Matěj Kovář has shown in the early stages of pre-season that he deserves a genuine chance to be part of Erik ten Hag’s
Throughout the first two fixtures, he has shown that he is incredible copmosited on the ball and is able to pick out almost any pass he desires.
On multiple occasionsk, Kovář was happy to stray off his line to collect crosses, make passes, and reassure his back line – traits which United have lacked.
Ten Hag should give the 23-year-old a proper shot at staking his claim alongside André Onana in United’s keeper team for the 2023/24 season.
#2 – Hannibal playing further upfield
In comparison to his average position against Leeds United, Hannibal palyed a more advanced role against Lyon – playing just behind the centre forward, in this case Jadon Sancho, during the first half.
Hannibal was tasked with chance creation, working alongside Mason Mount to feed United’s front line with balls in behind, as well as press the back line and midfield that Lyon has fielded.
He played admiralby, on the front foot, and carried out Ten Hag’s instructions to an impressive degree. He will almost certainly be part of the squad travelling to the USA on Wednesday evening.
#3 – Van de Beek stakes a claim
Donny van de Beek has been listed as one player who the club are defeinitally looking to sell this summer after back-to-back seasons of inconsistent game time due to injury and lack of selection.
However, it was Van de Beek who opened the scoring for United against Lyon with a thumping volley as a result of a fantastic cross from youngster Dan Gore.
With Van de Beek fighting for his right to stay at the club beyond this summer, he certainly started well, scoring just four minutes into his return to a football pitch after he was ruled out for the season back in January.
Whether or not the Dutch midfielder will play a part during the USA tour is yet to be seen – but there is certainly an argument to be had about giving him a chance.
#4 – Evans could save Ten Hag money
Jonny Evans has signed a short-term contract with United in order to help them across pre-season and to maintain his fitness levels as he finds a new club – but he may in fact stay at the club longer term.
With both Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire likely to be leaving the club this summer, the club will have to go in the market for a defender in order to replace them, which could eat into United’s budget this summer.
Evans played with experience and compsure for his 45 minutes against Lyon, and may be a fifth-choice defender that Ten Hag can rely on for the upcoming season if he was to sign on a one-year contract, as well as save moeny in the market.
#5 – United need to secure Højlund
Although it’s only pre-season, it continues to be glaringly evident that United are in dire need of a striker who can hold up play, get in the right positons, and make the the ball ends up in the back of the net.
In the first half, where the XI that played was a closer replication of the side Ten Hag will see as his first XI, chance creation was aplenty – but finishing quality as amiss.
United have many creative players in their side now, with Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes yet to join, but it’s becoming hard to watch all these chances go to waste, as this will cost the side much more dearly once the competitive seasons starts.
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