Yokohoma F-Marinos 3-2 Manchester United: 5 Things We Learned

Max TowleAnalyst IJuly 23, 2013

Yokohoma F-Marinos 3-2 Manchester United: 5 Things We Learned

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    Manchester United fell victim to the Yokohama F. Marinos Tuesday in an enjoyable preseason friendly clash.

    The Japanese team were a worthy match for the Red Devils, beating David Moyes' side 3-2 under the lights of the Nissan Stadium.

    Moyes put out a relatively inexperienced XI that included Jesse Lingard, Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj.

    Here are five things we learned from the game.

Defensive Jitters

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    The Red Devils looked fragile and disorganised against their Japanese opponents.

    Too often the side was sliced open by the most seemingly innocuous football. Gaping holes could be found in United's own half.

    The central partnership of Jonny Evans and Phil Jones did not work against West Bromwich Albion on the final day of the season and did not work Tuesday.

    Yokohama's equaliser came as a result of some dire defending from a set piece, a fault United regularly had exploited last term.

    David Moyes is an excellent defensive coach. This was not an excellent defensive performance.

Zaha the True Gem

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    Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj were impressive once again, but Wilfried Zaha stands above his peers as the true gem in the Red Devils' squad.

    The tricky winger is yet to make his official bow for the first team, but based on his preseason showings, he could be given an important role next term.

    His work to setup Lingard's opener was excellent. The way he blitzed past his opposite number almost reminded one of a young Cristiano Ronaldo.

    He still looks a little wobbly in physical confrontations and his passing is not yet up-to-speed , but these are things the Old Trafford coaching staff can work on.

    If Nani can quickly return to form, United may finally have a formidable wing partnership.

Cleverley and Anderson Not the Answer

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    There was a brief period of time when Tom Cleverley and Anderson were hyped as Manchester United's next dominant central midfield partnership.

    But even the most ardent supporters of both can no longer claim that.

    It would be harsh to judge the duo solely on their performances against Yokohama, but they were still inadequate as a pairing in the 3-2 defeat.

    No defensive cover was offered, Anderson's passing was a complete mixed bag and Cleverley covered plenty of the pitch without making much of an impact.

    Next season will be Anderson's final chance, though Cleverley has a little more time to become a world-class player.

Welbeck Reverts to Type

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    Danny Welbeck was excellent against the A-League All Stars last weekend.

    But he seemed to justify all the criticism he has faced in recent months in the 3-2 defeat to Yokohama.

    His first touch was elephantine as he squandered two terrific chances in the second half. His composure in the box also let him down.

    No one should write off the 22-year-old yet, despite his poor goal tally of two in 39 appearances last season. He is a quality all-round player whose potential remains.

    One of Moyes' biggest challenges next season will be getting Welbeck reacquainted with finding the back of the net.

Phil Jones as CB?

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    The rapid improvement of Phil Jones in early 2013 was one of the biggest positives of the whole campaign.

    He made huge strides playing alongside Michael Carrick in a defensive midfield role. His technical abilities may not yet be appropriate for the position, but he was still giving off a real Roy Keane air.

    Against Yokohama, Jones started at centre-back, as he did against the All Stars at the weekend.

    David Moyes clearly has the 21-year-old pegged as a central defender in the long term. Whether or not this is based on advice from Sir Alex Ferguson is unclear.

    He will have competition from a number of players vying for only two positions next season, though.


    What did you make of Tuesday's friendly?