After six friendly matches, including three at the International Champions Cup, Manchester United’s tour ends on Wednesday night against Italian Serie A side, Sampdoria. Jose Mourinho’s side played some good football during previous weeks, beating Manchester City 2-0 in the process.
Biggest tests for Man United have passed. After winning against two MLS teams, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, Red Devils played city rivals, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Norwegian side Valerenga. Only the Catalan club managed to beat Mourinho’s team as Neymar was the only scorer on the night, while Real Madrid were beaten after penalty shoot-out.
United’s last friendly so far, played on Sunday in Oslo, was a match in which Europa League champions showed class against Valerenga. They were the superior team right from the start of the match and Marouane Fellaini made sure United were in the lead at half-time, scoring just before the break. With goals from Romelu Lukaku and Scott McTominay during second half, Man United proved their worth in front of some 25000 fans at the Ullevaal Stadion.
Man United’s final friendly match before their season kicks-off next Tuesday will be played in Dublin, at the Aviva Stadium. The €410m state-of-the-art stadium can hold up to 51700 fans. It was opened in May 2010 and apart from football, it is also being used for rugby matches. Match starts at 18.45 BST.
Sampdoria started their preparations for the new season a bit later than Man United, with Serie A starting a week after Premier League. They started off with a bang against a lower league side Sellero Novelle in a 11-0 victory. Sampdoria won their next two matches as well, against Feralpi Salo (1-0) and Cremonese (3-0), before losing 1-0 to Hellas Verona.
‘La Samp’ have been quite active in the transfer market so far. They invested in new forwards, bringing in Gianluca Caprari from Inter for £10.75m and Dawid Kownacki from Polish side Lech Poznan in a deal worth £3.5m. Italian left-back Nicola Murru joined from Cagliari for £6.25m.
Sampdoria also sold some of their better players. Milan Skriniar joined Inter and Luis Muriel is now a Sevilla player. These two deals were worth a combined £38.5m, while Sampdoria also earned money on Bruno Fernandes. In a co-own deal (usual only in Italy), La Samp outbid Udinese for his services and brought him back to the club for £5.5m before selling the Portuguese midfielder right away for just over £7m to Sporting Lisbon.
Manchester United’s Predicted Starting XI
As this is the last friendly match for Mourinho’s players before they meet Real Madrid on August 8 in UEFA Super Cup Final in Skopje, Manchester United are expected to start in their strongest starting XI.
Against Valerenga, United played in a form of a 4-3-3, with Paul Pogba and Fellaini playing alongside Michael Carrick in midfield. With the arrival of Nemanja Matic that could change, so much so that United should start in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
GK: David De Gea
DR: Antonio Valencia/Matteo Darmian
DC: Eric Bailly
DC: Chris Smalling/Victor Lindelof
DL: Luke Shaw
MC: Nemanja Matic
MC: Ander Herrera
AMR: Juan Mata
AMC: Paul Pogba
AML: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
ST: Romelu Lukaku