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Manchester United Proves Their Mettle with a 2-0 Victory Over Arsenal in Preseason Friendly

Image source: Wix

In a highly anticipated preseason exhibition match against Arsenal, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag's statement, "we don't play friendlies," rang true as the Red Devils secured a convincing 2-0 win at the packed MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

United showcased their prowess with goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho, scored in the span of eight minutes during the first half, securing their third consecutive preseason shutout victory.

The victory was not without its share of defensive errors from Arsenal, as a misjudged shot by Bruno Fernandes slipped past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, while an attempted clearance from Gabriel paved the way for Jadon Sancho's clinical finish.

Manchester United's dominance was evident, weathering a few early chances from Arsenal, and controlling the game through physical challenges and quick transitions. Arsenal struggled to mount a response in the second half, which saw both teams making numerous substitutions.

The win for United was well-deserved, as they displayed superior tactics and execution on the field. On the other hand, Arsenal's new arrivals, including Kai Havertz, Declan Rice, and Jurrien Timber, failed to make a significant impact during the match. While Mason Mount started for Manchester United, he is still adapting to his new surroundings. Notably, the newly-signed goalkeeper Andre Onana was present at the stadium but did not feature in the match.

Image source: Wix

Following this match, both teams will be heading to the West Coast for their next fixtures. Manchester United is set to face Wrexham in San Diego on Tuesday night, while Arsenal is scheduled to play against Barcelona on Wednesday, July 26, provided the Spanish club overcomes a recent stomach bug that led to the cancellation of their friendly against Juventus.

United's performance highlighted their attacking prowess, mixing over-the-top direct play with quick transitions and standard attacking buildups. Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes led the charge with their well-timed goals. While other wingers like Marcus Rashford and Antony didn't stand out, their contribution and hard work were evident throughout the game.

The cohesive and hardworking atmosphere in the Manchester United team underpins their success. Players understand their roles well, and a culture of dedication and determination fuels their performance. Newcomers like Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro add a competitive edge to the squad, complementing young talents like 18-year-old holding midfielder Kobbie Mainoo.

In contrast, Arsenal's performance revealed room for improvement. Manager Mikel Arteta expressed disappointment in his team's lack of fighting spirit and fire after the match. Despite facing strong opposition and dealing with fatigue from preseason preparations, a stronger reaction from the players could have sent a message to their rivals. Arteta seeks to instill a fighting spirit in the team, a trait that players like Granit Xhaka embodied.

The 5-0 victory over the MLS All-Stars earlier in the week might have given the impression that Arsenal was further along in their preparations. However, the match against Manchester United revealed that they still have work to do. The starting midfield trio of Martin Odegaard, Declan Rice, and Kai Havertz struggled to make a significant impact on the game, prompting Arteta to acknowledge the ongoing development process.

Arteta remains optimistic about the team's progress, emphasizing that with time and understanding between the players, the midfield trio will grow stronger and more dominant. The match against Manchester United showed encouraging signs, with better performances than the previous game against the MLS All-Stars, despite the differing result.

Both teams have demonstrated their capabilities and areas for improvement during this preseason friendly. As the season approaches, the focus will be on refining their strategies and fine-tuning their squads to compete at the highest level.


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