To describe Manchester United’s preseason as dismal is no exaggeration. Defeats both on and off the pitch are no ideal start to the post-Sir Alex era. On Friday night, they spoiled Rio’s party, but more worrying looked far from ready for the season, when their opponents only arrived that morning, having also played a competitive match the day before.
Robin Van Persie’s double is the perfect pain-relief for David Moyes, not only did it end their poor pre-season run, but also brought Moyes his first managerial silverware. Apart from the goals, United were not dominating as they would want to be against a not-so-threatening Wigan side. Though without Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Nani and Ashley Young, you still expect a bit more from the starting XI at Wembley.
The incapability in passing
Sometimes, it is as simple as getting the basics right. One key reason that let United down at Wembley was their passing. Predominantly having the ball, their passes in general just lacked the power to facilitate smooth transition.
Tom Cleverley, in particular, just could not get the touch right and often found players on the receiving end struggled to take a neat control of his passes. United never quite got the flow of attack they envisioned and once again reminded the fans their failure to capture a midfield playmaker this summer.
Was Wigan prepared to compete?
Starting their Championship season in a convincing manner, Wigan should be relishing the opportunity to once again compete in Wembley Stadium. As expected they went for a more defensive settings at the kick-off whistle, but looked incapable to respond to Van Persie’s early goal. Putting into context, official record shows Wigan had merely one goal attempt, late in the second half by substitute Roger Espinoza.
Apart from the clashes between Grant Holt and Nemanja Vidic, the Latics gave minimal disturbance to United back four. Having already fielded quite a strong side, they just did not look motivated or confident to give it a fight for the trophy. There is a week to go before their next league fixture. What were Owen Coyle and the players worrying about?
Do the Red Devils need Leighton Baines?
Tempted by the return to Monaco, United looks set to replace Patrice Evra with Moyes’ favourite Leighton Baines. Everton stand firm not to sell the left back, but United witnessed another solid performance from Evra. Well-rested after the summer, the 32 years old was energetic and productive down the left.
The question is, how likely can Evra maintain this form for 50 games a season? United were desperate for a reliable understudy but may still yet to establish the confidence on Alex Buttner. Baines should be United’s long term solution to the left back, but the English defender will not arrive at Old Trafford to be a bench-warmer. Moyes has three weeks left to sort out this dilemma.
Man of the match
It could be an easy pick by looking at the scoresheet. Those who watched the match might disagree. Van Persie was clinical in the two chances he got. In truth, Manchester United did not create much for the last season Premier League top goalscorer. Zaha started off brightly but looked less threatening as time went by. Welbeck and Cleverley did not quite impress the crowd on a season they should have targeted to shine.
With no significant tests to the defenders, Michael Carrick had no real troubles in dominating the tempo. But United should be more than capable to get more than merely just two this afternoon. Overall, it is not a satisfying performance, either as a team or on an individual basis.