Some things to be happy about, others that cause concern, as Manchester United beat Valencia 2-1 in another preseason preparation match, with Darren Fletcher and Marouane Fellaini scoring for the home side, while Rodrigo Moreno made the most of some poor defending by the Red Devils to make it interesting for a short while.
So what’s working and what isn’t? The defense is cause for concern. Louis van Gaal has never been afraid of going young with his teams, but for now the Manchester United back three, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as the anchors, seems a bit disjointed, not to mention simply bad at certain moments.
The offensive side and the midfield are on a whole other level at this point. Wayne Rooney didn’t score, but he did create (and miss) a penalty kick as Manchester United were the aggressors all match long, pressing high and playing rather quickly with the ball at their feet.
Darren Fletcher opened the scoring in the 49th minute, as a new session of Manchester United pressure resulted in the Scottish midfielder taking a shot from the edge of the box and enjoying a deflection that gave Manchester United the goal. Still undefeated in the preseason, following wins over Liverpool, Real Madrid, Inter, Roma and Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Rooney-Hernandez combination up front as Van Gaal is insisting on the 3-4-1-2 formation, with Juan Mata playing behind them, has seen better days. It was Marouane Fellaini who broke the deadlock in the 91st minute, 20 minutes after Moreno was left completely alone in the box following a free kick that was deflected off of Tom Cleverley’s foot.
A new Manchester United? There are still plenty of faces that have a lot to do with David Moyes failing and getting fired. But more has been added, and the most important change has been on the sidelines – a manager who isn’t afraid to win and win big, instead of one who might still be wondering what he did wrong.