5 things learned as Man United draw 1-1 with Rayo Vallecano

Pre-season is now over, with the serious stuff starting next week. What did we learn from Man United’s final friendly game vs Rayo Vallecano?

Well that was certainly more fun, wasn’t it? Although the results tailed off at the end of pre-season, it’s easy to see why Manchester United opted for Erik ten Hag.

The gaffer has us playing a system that’s far easier on the eye than his predecessors. Obviously, there’s work to be done, though the signs of progression are there for all to see.

Today’s game against Rayo Vallecano was more of the same, though there were a few standout performances from the boys in Red. Anyway, what did we learn from the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford this afternoon? Let’s get right into it.

Alejandro Garnacho is going to be a superstar

From minute one, this young man looked a cut above. The skills, the tricks, the flicks. His ability to go either inside or out left defenders guessing, while he was gliding past players all game long.


After shining in the FA Youth Cup final, we’ve barely seen the Argentine. However, he looked super sharp today, against a decent level of opponent. What’s scary is he’s still only 18 and going to become even better.

I feel like with the lack of depth out wide, he should remain at Old Trafford for the upcoming season rather than head out on loan.

Tahith Chong doesn’t look up to standard

The bar is set incredibly high at United, so there’s no shame in it. However, Chong just looks a step behind the top level. Maybe it’s rustiness, maybe it’s confidence. However, the Dutchman just doesn’t look like he’s good enough to start regularly in a side with trophy ambitions.

Again, I’ll reiterate, Chong will have a top career within the game at a decent level. I just don’t see him being good enough to break into the United XI week-in-week-out.

Cristiano Ronaldo still loved by the fans

I have to be honest, I was worried that there could potentially be a bit of hostility towards Ronaldo, given the way he’s gone about demanding a transfer this summer.

However, the Old Trafford Faithful gave Ronnie a super warm welcome, with the player responding with a decent enough performance. When you’re as professional and committed as he is, you’re always going to get 100% from him regardless of whether he wants to be here or not.

Easy to see why Lisandro Martinez was signed for this system

Ten Hag teams are built to thrive with the ball at feet, every single player in United colours has to do that job. The Reds have struggled in distribution and passing from the back in years gone by, hence why Martinez was acquired.

The Argentine is excellent in that aspect, spraying the ball all over the field nicely. He’s also a calming presence, in an area of the field where United were anything-but-calm in 201/22.

It’s early stages but the Argentine already looks right at home at the heart of United’s back four.

Ethan Laird promising

Be it this season or next, this young full-back looks like a proper talent. He had one moment where he switched off, but aside from that, it was a wholly encouraging display from the defender.

In terms of fit, he’s far better for United than Aaron Wan-Bissaka under Ten Hag and that absolutely helps his chances at earning some first-team minutes this season. I guess it all comes down to whether the club can move on from AWB before the close of play.

Either way, it was superb to see Laird bombing up and down that right-hand side all game. He delivered some decent balls into the box and also made some important blocks.

The verdict

It was another decent outing for United. It’s obvious there’s still plenty of work to be done, but as these players continue to adapt to the new system, I believe we have every reason to feel positive going into the new campaign.

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About Jordan Street 19151 Articles
Mancunian. Red through and through. Season Ticket holder block E332.

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