Manchester United defeated AS Roma in their opening match of the International Champions Cup, 3-2. Louis van Gaal has already implemented his 5-3-2 system into the minds of the players and it paid off dividends, much like it did with the Netherlands during the World Cup.
Wayne Rooney scored a scorcher from over 20 yards out, which is something he had not done in a long time, as confidence was a factor he did not have. Knowing that van Gaal is as serious a coach as any, he knew that he had to do something special to deservedly wear the No. 10 jersey. That goal, and the penalty he scored to end the first half, proved that he still has what it takes to be United’s very best.
The team played a smart game as they managed to pass the ball quickly, fiercely and, most importantly, with accuracy against a Roma side that did not make it easy. Passing the ball back is something this team never enjoyed doing, as they were all about smart offense. Now with the 5-3-2 and the disciplinarian in van Gaal at the helm, they are playing smart on both ends of the ball. Roma were caught offside more than once, even with five at the back for United.
Manchester United will not be taking part in Europe after their low finish last season in the Premier League. With Europe out of the way for the season, players will have a vast amount of energy and can solely focus on the domestic league and cup action. It will not come as a surprise if the team pulls off a double, or even a triple.
Roma scored an unlikely goal from well beyond the halfway line as Miralem Pjanic caught the keeper off his line. Their second and final strike arrived from the spot with another chance ripping the woodwork. Regardless, their loss arrived due to their lack of concentration towards the end of the opening 45 minutes. Playing with three in the back can always be dangerous.
Turkish international Salih Ucan showed that he can succeed in the Serie A, as he won the ball, held the ball and even distributed passes with accuracy both on the ground in through the air. However, one thing he needs to work on is making the right decision in the final third on a counter. Once he learns this, he should be starting regularly for Roma.
Winning the Serie A with this team will be no easy task, especially with Juventus simply growing stronger as each season progresses. However, they can still finish in second with smart defense, constructed offense and an overall concentrated season.