The return of the football season is coming ever closer, but for those who can’t wait to get stuck in, there are plenty of pre-season friendlies with lots of potential clues for those looking to the ante-post markets.
For that reason, there will be more than a few eyes on Manchester United against Inter Milan, with both sides having questions over them heading into the next season.
United’s drab end to the 2018/19 campaign has put many question marks on the managerial acumen of United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who made such a promising start at the helm before his side lost eight of their last 12 games in all competitions. The Norwegian will have been pleased with United’s brief pre-season so far in the shape of a 2-0 win against Perth Glory and then a 4-0 win against Leeds.
This will be a step up in opposition, but there was plenty to like about their performance against Leeds, with new signing Daniel James linking very effectively with young hotshot Mason Greenwood. Solskjaer will also be happy with the performance of Juan Mata in the 10 role and the sharpness of Marcus Rashford, given that Romelu Lukaku’s future is in doubt.
Inter, who just about made it into the Champions League next season, have a new manager in Antonio Conte, and plenty of firepower to back himself up as they seek to close a 21-point gap between them and Serie A champions Juventus. They have been swift in the transfer market, making Diego Godin their headline signing, but quickly adding Matteo Politano, Nicolo Barella, and of Valentino Lazaro to their squad.
They have the personnel to go toe to toe with United and more, but this is a pre-season friendly and they have had just the one game under Conte, a win against Lugarno last weekend. With just that game in the bank compared to United’s two, it’s probably fair to assume that they are behind United in their preparations, especially given that they are playing under Antonio Conte for just the second time, whilst United have had a few months under Solskjaer and two full games this summer.
Manchester Utd v Inter Milan
International Champions Cup
12:30 MUTV HD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, past 10 years*)
MAR 2009 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Manchester United 2-0 Inter
FEB 2009 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Inter 0-0 Manchester United
MAR 1999 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Inter 1-1 Manchester United
MAR 1999 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Manchester United 2-0 Inter
United appear not to have changed their style of play much, even if they may still struggle with breaking down teams when they have the majority of the ball next season, and they could be the more cohesive of the two sides because of the time spent with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The market has accounted for that in making United relatively short favourites at 11/10, and that looks a fair price if we take their preparations into account. The favourites could have their defence breached though, as Inter will be a significant step up on Perth and Leeds, and both teams scored in four of United’s six pre-season games in 2018/19.
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