Match Report: Valerenga 0-0 United

Manchester United’s pre-season tour took them to Norway this time, where they played out a 0-0 draw with Valerenga- the 7th best team in the country. Sir Alex Ferguson had stayed back in Manchester, which meant that Mike Phelan was the boss on the night.

Starting XI: Lindegaard, Valencia, Vidic, Rio, Keane, Scholes, Carrick, Young, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck

Subs: Anderson, Powell, Lingard, Chicharito, Kagawa (used); De Gea, Jones, Berbatov, Macheda (unused)

The main talking point was of course the return of over half a dozen big guns to the side- including influential captain Nemanja Vidic, whose solid one hour display showed that he has more or less recovered from his horrible injury. The players who exerted themselves at the Euros had been given a break till now by the gaffer. 6 of them returned tonight. The United playing XI finally had more of a look of familiarity about it for the onlookers than it has till now. Because Patrice Evra had to rush back, young defender Michael Keane got the chance to play as a left-back, while Tony Valencia surprisingly played at right-back.

An attack force of Rooney, Welbeck, Young and Nani gave us glimpses of some of the excellent football that United played in the league last season (ably supported by Scholes and Carrick as always). Rooney and co. were a bit off boil though, which was understandable considering they’re coming back from a break. Valerenga did most of the early attacking- Lindegaard efficiently parried away a shot- but United soon got into their groove and started stringing some nice passing moves together. After both Scholes and Young had shots blocked, Valencia and Nani combined well on the right to present Welbeck with a couple of chances that were saved.

The best move of the first half was perhaps the lovely interplay between Welbeck and Rooney, which ended in the former scuffing his shot. Rooney got close to scoring with a header, but so did the home team as the half-time whistle sounded. The second half began and soon, Welbeck and Vida were replaced by Kagawa and Anderson. There was a change in the tempo of United’s game thereafter. Ando bent his back and twitched his bottom as he smacked in a low-free kick at the Valerenga keeper, which he saved without great difficulty. Nani shot wildly over and the home team had a couple of very decent chances, before Tony V decided to unleash one of those vicious cross-shots that he loves so much. It narrowly missed going in.

Chicharito, Lingaard and Powell soon arrived and finally we could get to see some of our promising youngsters in action. Nani and Kagawa combined well to fashion a chance for Little Pea- something that augurs brilliantly well for next season (assuming the Portuguese winger stays). There were a chance apiece for Chicha and Ando afterwards, but the game predictably ended goalless. Several United players got some much needed game time. It can’t be said that this game was ideal practice for our match against Barcelona on the 8th, but it was a good experience nevertheless.

1 Comment

  1. Despite United’s dominance of the game, it was, to not to put too fine a point on it, boring. Nani and Valencia did fine, Rooney is becoming quite the routinier when it comes to building up steam in front. Good job! Otherwise, boring.

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