Date: 31st July 2011 at 10:45am
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Nani scores the opening goal

Two months after that bitterly disappointing night in Wembley, Manchester United rounded off their successful US tour with what some may describe as a revenge victory over Barcelona at FedEx Field. Although most will acknowledge the victory came under less significant circumstances with many changes made to the starting line up that took part last time around, victory against a fairly familiar Barcelona side will nonetheless be encouraging and meant United left the USA undefeated having scored 20 goals and conceding just 3. Having scored the opening goal before half time, Barcelona struck back with a magnificent curling effort from Thiago, a player who has left people asking questions as to why Fabregas is need at the Catalan club, before Michael Owen gave United the lead late on with penalties looming. The game should have been put beyond doubt when he put ¬†Obertan’s cross over the bar from close range, but Sir Alex Ferguson will have been pleased to end the tour with a 2-1 victory, and to go home undefeated. ¬†So with that here are five things that may be taken from the game.

1) The tour has been worthwhile

Although at times the opposition has been less than challenging, particularly in the opening games, most will admit the tour of the States has been highly successful as a build up to the new season, giving many squad players a chance to impress as well as providing everyone with time to improve their fitness and take in some match practice before the challenges that await domestically. An undefeated run will have given Sir Alex Ferguson reason to smile and the fact that so many put in effective displays will have made for positive viewing going in to the new season.

2) Danny Welbeck may stake a claim for regular action

With such an impressive assist for the opening goal, and with strong performances from United’s attacking force all round, one must wonder why Ferguson has been linked with yet another striker during the transfer window. With some producing fine performances, the potential for a selection headache is looking quite high and Welbeck will have added to that on Sunday morning, notably playing a sublime through ball, with a razor sharp Nani sprinting on to it, beating the offside trap and finishing through the legs of Valdes.

3) Nani should only play on the right

Nani has set out his claim for a regular starting place as well, putting in effective and strong performances when called upon on this tour, clearly putting the disappointment of not starting in the Champion’s League final behind him. It has been clear for a long time that his preferred position is out on the right, putting in noticeably better performances when occupying the right flank. This gives strong competition for a place on the right with Antonio Valencia and it will be interesting to see how Ferguson utilises their different strengths with the more traditional style of Valencia versus the more flair type that is Nani. One must wonder if there is any benefit of playing Nani more centrally, given his attacking potential.

4) Fabio made the most of his game time

After a crunching tackle involving Keita that meant Rafael had to go off, his twin brother Fabio was brought on to replace him at right back, a literal like for like substitution. Indeed Fabio put in an efficient displaying preventing Guardiola’s side from progressing down their left flank, as did the rest of the defense that meant David De Gea was rarely troubled throughout the match.

5) No conclusions about De Gea

As mentioned, David De Gea was left fairly quiet throughout the game, rarely called upon and left with no chance when the highly talented Thiago placed a superb curling shot past him to equalise. So the jury is still out on the ‘keeper believed to be Van Der Sar’s long-term successor. Many United fans will hope he is the real deal and the proof will come in the regular grind of the new season. Whilst both Lindegaard and Amos have had the chance to impress more on tour, one must assume that with such high investment in the young Spaniard that he will automatically be the main choice come the new season.


23 responses to “Five Things We Learned – United vs. Barcelona”

  1. James says:


  2. Isaidso says:

    Man Utd BOO-ED and deservedly so for their continual stream of BACK passing to their goalkeeper De Gea – the crowd were fed up of this negative playing style of United. I am Man Utd fanatic, but I like Villas Boas type football when He said “I intend to wipe out all negative side and back passing” my teams HAVR TO find a way to direct their game forward. O that Fergie would say the same, and kick the arses of every United player continually backpassing. I mean De Gea was worked more by his own players than he ever was by Barca players. I hope United are continually boo-ed for this negative type football at all away grounds until they GET THE MESSAGE. Those USA folk payed a lot of money to watch great football, and not United negative balls continually streaming backwards – such is their bad habit of this!

    • Zayd says:

      Negative football can be stifling at times, but he fact is the goals scored we’re of a high standard and that United’s objective is to win not to please everyone in the ground. In fact the majority of the time they don’t play this style of football, so to call it a habit is a bit extreme.

    • Youdon'tknowwhatyou'redoing says:

      Really? Do you actually have any clue about football? It’s all about possession and passing it back to the keeper is a tried, tested and proved way of keeping said possession. Rather than just run down the flank, try to play a ball that doesn’t come off and find yourself on the back-foot because you’re now the one who’s being attacked. For me it was nice to see united calm in possession and not playing daft passes against the team who has proved to be superior in possession. It’s not negative, it’s tactical and if Villas Boas comes out thinking he can just attack straight from the off in the premier league and champions league, I think we’ll see yet another P45 handed out at Stamford Bridge.

      Yes you want entertaining , attacking football but there’s no point in that if you end up with fuck all at the end of the game. Like Holloway said “when you go on a night out you don’t always pull the prettiest girl… but at least you’ve pulled”. Having said that though, United are one of the most attacking and entertaining teams in the world and have been for a long time. IT’S IN THE CLUB’S DNA. It really makes me laugh when a little jumped up shit like you comes along and thinks they know everything because they receive the “EPL” on “FOX SPORTS”. Give me a fucking break. Support the team, don’t denigrate it… Fergie knows better…. anyway what the fuck, WE WON?!

      • Jimbo says:

        Here here Youdon’tknowwhatyou’redoing. Isaidso clearly knows very little about football.

    • GaryD says:

      And this people, is why the world thinks every american is a stupid fat ignorant cunt.

    • leke says:

      U piece of shit,what d fuck do u know about MANU,d cups r dere 4 u 2 see how we play,u don’t know shit,so don’t freaking hate MANU,we r d best in don’t fuckin say shit about possession football,we play good,lovely soccer..
      RED DEVIL!!!

  3. united had a good preseason now hopefully we beat city

  4. Isaidso says:

    @You don’tknow what your doing – I don’t need to get into a slanging match with someone like you who knows NAFF all about the people you are seeking to respond too! I watch Man United games from the terraces – do you??? I am a Salford Red thru and thru, so get off your high horse mate just because I have a different opinion to you. There was a time Man United were renowned for CAVALIER direct running football, but this backpassing game has mostly killed a lot of that. I didn’t say we didn’t score great goals – I am Nani’s No1 fan – mainly because he does always look to go direct – one way towards goal and same with MIckey Owen. Yet when people have paid a lot of money for tickets as USA United fans did – they do so because as you say United have a reputation for entertaining football, and they want to be entertained. We lost a lot of points AWAY from home last season because of our BACKPASSING negative game – and I was there at a good few of those games – so you keep on enjoying your snooze football, but I love football in what Fergie calls the United way.

    • Bob deacon says:

      Surely the blame for the ‘snooze football’ ,as you so eloquently put it, lies with Barcelona… There repetitive style of possession football kills the game for the supporters and makes it quite tedious viewing, considering that they had not got the flair up front that they are known for.. United’s back passing was nessasary to keep the ball from barca and explore other attacking options… I disagree with you from the bottom of my scrotum… There was backpassing but not it was not negative.. Go play FIFA.

    • Zayd says:

      At the end of the day you have to play smart not just gung-ho attacking football that leaves the defence exposed. There’s simply no point attacking all the time, thats not how you win matches and besides which United are hardly boring, never have been.

    • will says:

      u fucking jumped up little know it all insulent pig, we won the game barca r cunts to play against n their style of play is boring 2 much keep ball gets a bit same same, starts to grate on you after a while, backpassing hahah this is normal and wat every team does against barca as the they close u down n press so quickly n relentlessly, so ur a mug and im a cup…winning real man utd fan…so jump of a tower block and do urself a favour u make me sick with ur betrayal…i hate you.

  5. Isaidso says:

    @BobDeacon – I see where you are coming from, but Barca did look to go forward and hardly made those long back passing to their GK. Good players know how to play their way out of defense. I think Bob you will find if you talk with most United fans down the pub – they are divided into two camps, the ones supporting yours and a few other posters on here – that winning is all that matters, and then those like me who bought into the Fergie philosophy for many years standing on the terraces – and I quote Ferie himself – “it is not simply winning, it is winning with panache and style – the United way.” That’s all I am saying, and believe it or not, I know a good few United fans who agree with me on this issue of the desire for the Cavalier days of the Old United. But football is all about opinions, and I appreciate yours and others on this blog – though I obviously don’t agree with them – as you don’t with me. So touche, each to his own! I was born a red and I will die one, even though I suffer with United performances sometimes!

    • youdon'tknowwhatyou'redoing says:

      Granted, I may have jumped to the conclusion that you were a USA based fan. However this assertion was due to the somewhat bizarre opinions you harbour. I am in fact a Trafford based united fan, born before the glory years and hold a season ticket in the north stand. I vehemently disagree with the notion that we lost points due to ‘backpassing’; for me thats just a ridiculous statement. I’d offer the opinion that it was more about losing concentration and becoming complacent. I am of the camp that winning is what matters, if it is done in an entertaining fashion then it makes me far happier. However I don’t want to go to a match, watch us play attacking football but lose 3-0 because the team didn’t defend properly. We have won more over the last 20 years because we’re better at defending and in fact that is what were the foundations of the 2007-08 season. Backpassing is a essential and integral part of the game, every team does it. It sounds to me like you’re not happy unless the team is bombing down the flanks, beating players and scoring spectacular goals. We can’t always have giggs type goals vs Arsenal (FA cup), especially these days because oppositions are better.

      I respect you’re opinion but believe your wrong and it bemuses me that you pine for this type of football when it clearly just wouldn’t work in the modern game (though I’d love to be proved wrong).

  6. Isaidso says:

    @Youdontknowwhatyourdoing = Hahaha don’t knock bombing down the wing, beating player after player, and scoring spectacular goals – I bet you didn’t complain when Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez were doing just that and still winning! So your from Trafford – a local lad, well good for you mate, we Mancs are salt of the earth. I am not averse to the occasional backpass – but to play 70% of games in this mode – nah mate, not my cup of tea at all!

    • will says:

      ur a silly boy…with childish shows in your comments 70% nah mate dnt think so for that to be true united must of had 70% possesion n everytime where on the ball would of have 2 have passed it back every touch repeatedly, with not even gettin out of their own half in the whole your theory is shot 2 pieces, plus a team like barca would at least expected to have minimum 50 50 possesion so it was probly more like 2 percent when u work it out..mate ur a dick n we dont need haters like you in our club…get out just do u think i giv a shit about sum yank gettin entertained…hahha fuck em we won end of. p.s. ur attitude stinks.

  7. fc Barcelona is the best.The team is going to run riot again with Sanchez.

  8. The 2.1 against man u on the 31 of july was a victory for me.

  9. Isaidso says:

    @Will – I know my assumed Childishness is not nearly as prevelent as yours. To start with you write and express yourself like someone still in kindergarten, and I think everyone reading the posts here can see that. Your deductions of my 70% theory are way off too – I was talking about 70% of the possession that United did have, in other words the biggest proportion of the possession we have in any given game. See Will it is fans like you and not me who give United a bad name – and the arrogant fan label. You missed the point of Man Utd USA trip – as Fergie said it WAS TO WIN MORE USA FANS to the game of football, together with financial incentive and winning their support to our cause instead of to other foreign clubs. The best way to do this is by our product on the field, and that should be fast, free flowing entertaining football. That kind of football brings in the crowds. Thank God that most of the other posters on this blog voice their opinions without having to call other fans names – and are able to appreciate that in the world of fandom there is plenty of difference in opinions. Fans can agree to disagree and not have to be aggressive because someone sees things differently to them!

  10. Ez says:

    @Isaidso… I support you… And am disgusted by the so called local fans. So what? And how many local players are local…. Shame on you, selfish fans. Man utd is played my foreign players, managed by foreign manager, owned by a foreigner and also is supported by foreigners. If you don’t like it, form your own local team.