The 2019/20 campaign is finally set to kick off for Manchester United on Saturday afternoon as the Red Devils take on Perth Glory in their opening game of pre-season. The squad recently landed in Australia to start their tour, and after a week of practice, they are ready to take the field once again.
After a disastrous season last time out, United will need to get this campaign off to a good start to give the fanbase some much needed optimism going into the new year.
The summer hasn’t been as promising as fans had hoped it would be. United have only made two signings so far, with both acquisitions under the age of 22.
The first was Daniel James, who was bought from Swansea City for around 20 million. The Welshman is full of promise and potential, but he’ll likely be a bit part player in his first season at Old Trafford.
The other signing is one who is set to feature in a much more prominent role. After weeks and weeks of negotiations, United were finally able to agree to a deal with Crystal Palace to secure the services of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. He’ll walk straight into the starting eleven and finally bring the club some crucial defensive ability at the right back position.
More surprising than that, though, is the fact that United haven’t even sold a single first team player. Only Ander Herrera and James Wilson have left, with the club getting no money back from their departures. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had told the press in the past that he planned on getting rid of those he didn’t deem good enough, but it seems plans have changed.
There’s still a month and a half left in the transfer window, but United need to start getting deals done if they want any chance of success next season.
Perth, on the other hand, just endured a heartbreaking end to their campaign. After finishing in first place in the A-League regular season, the Australian side qualified for the playoffs. They advanced past Adelaide United in the semi-finals, winning a penalty shootout after the game finished 3-3. However, Perth would fall at the final hurdle, losing on penalties in the final against Sydney FC.
Matteo Darmian and Fred are the only main first team players who will be unavailable for United excluding those on international duty, as both players will be joining up with the rest of the squad at a later date due to family reasons.
Perth will be without a number of players since their season just recently ended, as Diego Castro, Andy Keogh, Chris Ikonomidis, Matthew Spiranovic, and Dino Djulbic will all miss out.
Perth Glory - Reddy, Lowry, Neville, Grant, Franjic, Juande, Kilkenny, Brimmer, Chianese, Santalab, Ferreira
Manchester United - De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Tuanzebe, Shaw, Pogba, McTominay, Andreas, James, Rashford, Lingard
What to watch for
Youth earning a chance
It still is pre-season after all, so expect plenty of youngsters at United to get game time on Saturday. The most interesting player to keep an eye out for will be Mason Greenwood, who earns his chance with the first team after a promising spell in the academy.
And then there’s the likes of Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes, who have made a number of appearances for the club already, but could really break into the first team if all goes well. This upcoming season is key in both of their developments, one which could potentially see them shipped out on loan to gain some experience away from Old Trafford.
One player who’s just returned from a loan of his own is Axel Tuanzebe after impressing at Aston Villa, and the young centre-back should be getting plenty of time in these upcoming friendlies.