Zaha, Januzaj and Lingard. Almost every goal that Manchester United have scored on their pre-season tour so far has seen one of these three youngsters involved in some capacity.
The tour has been superb for the young trio. All of them have used their opportunity to impress David Moyes and taken it with aplomb.
Between them in the three games so far on tour they have provided more spark than Nani, Young and Valencia did all of last season.
There is going to be fantastic competition for places in the first team squad this season and this youthful enthusiasm should be the perfect tool for injecting some much needed life into United’s wings.
The Shinji Show. In the 60 minutes of play before Kagawa came on, the camera panned to him 42 times. The local TV directors were more interested in Kagawa than the match itself such is his status in Japan.
Within ten minutes of coming on, Kagawa had a golden opportunity to get on the score sheet but couldn’t steer his shot past the goalkeeper.
It was the first time that Kagawa played for David Moyes and the more minutes he can get, the fitter he will be going into the new season.
Big things are expected of Kagawa next year with Rooney’s future up in the air and if Kagawa is given his preferred position behind the striker, he has the talent to become one of United’s main men next year.
No need for panic. Moyes might have lost two out of the three games so far in this year’s pre-season but it means nothing. This tour is all about the team regaining fitness and Moyes getting a chance to see his whole squad in action.
Yokohama was always going to be a difficult game and so it proved. Cerezo Osaka is likely to be equally as difficult on Friday.
What matters is when United walk out against Swansea on August 17, that is when results start to count. Up until that point, look at the positives that some players are gaining from this tour like Zaha, Januzaj and Lingard.
High pressing game disappears. Today’s game against Yokohama was always going to be the most difficult game so far on the tour given that they’re halfway through their season and in third place in the league.
Against Sydney, United adopted a high pressing game that limited the A-League All-Stars time on the ball and it was extremely effective but we reverted to a deeper tactic. It was likely more to do with the extreme humidity than anything but United struggled against a neat Yokohama side.
Our line-up was always going to concede a lot of chances with Anderson and Cleverley in the middle of the park and it proved to be the case with Yokohama having more than their fair share of possession.
A weak midfield without Carrick. A central midfield pairing of Cleverley and Anderson offers United a dynamic element going forward but when it came to stopping Yokohama, it was extremely weak.
They were granted far too much space on the ball and punished United. When Carrick plays, his phenomenal reading of the game cuts that space out and forces the opposition to get creative to find opportunities.
Taking Carrick out of the equation puts United instantly on the back foot. It was worrying how dependent United were on Carrick last season but hopefully the return of Darren Fletcher to fitness as well as a potential signing would mean that we had viable alternatives to playing Carrick in every game.