Robin van Persie will be one of the United stars on show in Sydney. Image courtesy of skysports.com
English Premier League champions Manchester United play the second match of their pre-season tour on Saturday night, when they tackle the A-League All Stars at ANZ Stadium. Although Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and captain Nemanja Vidic are amongst the players that didn’t make the trip to Australia, plenty of big names will still feature for the Red Devils.
David Moyes’ tenure as United boss began with a 1-0 defeat to a Thai All Stars team in Bangkok last week and he will be determined to register his first victory in charge of what is arguably the biggest club in the world. Robin van Persie and David da Gea have joined the touring party after being given additional time off following their international commitments and are expected to play, while a host of young players will also be out to impress the new regime.
Sydney FC star Brett Emerton played against the Red Devils on numerous occasions during his eight year stint with Blackburn in the Premier League and will captain the A-League All Stars in front of a sellout crowd of 84,000. Although marquee players Alessandro del Piero, Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey all declared themselves unavailable for the match, coach Ange Postecoglou still has a strong squad at his disposal. Joshua Rose and Michael McGlinchey represent the title-winning Central Coast Mariners, while the Roar’s Besart Berisha, Thomas Broich and Michael Theo will link with their former mentor for the first time since he left the club last year.
Neither of these sides will be at their best on Saturday night, with none of the A-League stars having played for at least three months, while United is just two matches into its pre-season tour ahead of a season that will last ten months. United scored just three goals in its opening five pre-season fixtures last year but should still have too much firepower for their opponents, who have had little time together to prepare for the match.
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