United laboured to a 1-0 victory over Shanghai Shenua on Wednesday in a game that saw Shinji Kagawa net his first for the club. The former Dortmund attacker was by far the best player on the pitch and quite frankly, he'd definitely going to make the grade in the EPL. The only thing that might just let him down are his teammates. Whereas Anderson and Carrick are capable partners in the middle, his thinking and expectations might just be too crisp for them. It's my opinion that we either increase the pace of our game in the middle, or pair him with someone like Cleverley who is quick on the pass too. Players like Kagawa require a sharpness of mind and speed of thought from partners to complement their talents. Hopefully the manager addresses what I'd perceive to be a possible concern.
The Euro 2012 players are back which effectively means pre-season is 'officially' underway. The mistakes we make in games against Valerenga, Barcelona, and Hannover are pretty much the same we'll make in the season proper. Our rivals don't seem to have weakened so we might have to do even better than last season collectively to reclaim our trophy. What's for certain is that if the manager does not add one or two ready made bodies in the team, we could suffer next term.
The injury crisis that usually hampers our campaigns has already kicked in quite earlier than usual this time. Chris Smalling is out until October and one wonders how close Jonny Evans is to fitness. It all means that our potential patch up bodies to fill in for the seasonal niggles of Rio and Rafael are greatly reduced for the start of the season. The only way we can get past it with minimal damage is if the captain returns for the start of the season and stays fit, and if Evra and Jones remain fit as well. Given our luck with injuries, it's hard to fathom that they'll remain intact till October. It's why the manager will do well to add a body more preferably from the reserve team as we've seen one or two kids do well on the tour. The likes of Blackett and Brady don't seem to be that bad.
In contrast to last pre-season, the goals have so far dried up this time round. It's nothing to get one worried really but some of these games are against opposition we should be taking to the cleaners. It is no secret that strikers gain confidence from goals, so its disappointing that the likes of Javier Hernandez are yet to find the net despite the number of minutes on pitch they've had. The Mexican managed a respectable 12 goals last season in an injury plagued campaign but a little more will be expected of him especially considering that this time he's had a full rest and a pre-season to take him into the new campaign. Hopefully he's saving them for the one against Barca.