Recap: A League All Stars vs Manchester United

Mark Metcalfe

Exciting, these young ones are!

Of course it wasn't the toughest of opposition, but that doesn't stop one from getting excited at the fluid and confident display from the youngsters in the team. Jesse Lingard in particular, and all of Danny Welbeck, Wilfred Zaha and Adnan Januzaj had excellent games. The icing on the cake very nearly came in the 90th minute, when the new faces combined with Tom Cleverly to almost, almost pass a beautiful goal into the net.

A total of 6 goals were scored, with 5 of those coming from the Reds. Lingard and Welbeck alternated to score 4 of those, while late substitute and fan man of the match Robin Van Persie finished things with a right footed strike. The pick of the goals was Lingard's second - with Patrice Evra drawing away the defender on the overlap Jesse shifted the ball to his right foot and send a rocket into the far side netting, the keeper having no chance. The A Stars pulled one back just after the break to make the score at the time 2-1, taking advantage of lax marking/miscommunication between Phil Jones and substitute Michael Keane.

Danny Welbeck

The young striker did fluff a couple of chances, but the ones he took were very well done. A strong right footed finish and a beautiful header (similar to his goal against Real Madrid) were his tangible returns from the game, but on observation he seemed to enjoy leading the line. Danny dropped off to allow the very active Lingard and Zaha to rush into the box (loosely like Pedro-Messi-Villa, i.e a false nine) while he also stayed high, breaking at speed and chasing down balls into space with incredible pace and strength. He did, however, seem to lose concentration a couple of times and could use a bit more ruthlessness. A beautiful dummy to set up Lingard's first showed what is good about Danny, while a similar dummy that did not result in a goal from Lingard's return showed what he needs.

Jesse Lingard

A player very well rated by the reserve and youth team setup at Manchester United, the youngster had the game of his life and was easily the man of the match. He showed great feet to create space, with one dribble near the halfway line reminiscent of failed transfer target (or not!) Thiago Alcantara. His understanding of space was excellent, his engine and desire were good and his passing was quite measured, calm and accurate. If he keeps these performances going, an exciting addition awaits the Manchester United midfield.

Wilfred Zaha

Zaha's game seems enigmatic - one moment he is the livewire from Youtube videos while the other he seems a boy trying too much. However, his talent is unquestionable. With strength, acceleration and great dribbling ability, he can take out a couple of defenders, charge into the box and lay it off or trash it into goal. His confidence is not lacking - with more understanding of teammates' runs and a less hesitant trigger finger, he may well reach the dizzy heights that a similar Portugese talent operates on today. Their means are very different, but the style is similar.

Adnan Januzaj

Unlike the previous three, Adnan played only around 20 minutes having come on for Danny Welbeck. In that short time, he exhibited great desire to win the ball, silky touch control and a wonderful vision to pick out runs. Something very encouraging was both his and Jesse's understanding of space - both gravitate towards small pockets very similar to Shinji Kagawa, giving themselves enough time to play the ball around oncoming defenders. Zaha, on the contrary, positions himself in a way that he beats the defender after getting the ball.

Fabio Da Silva

It's not the fairest of comparisons, but Fabio seemed a tad undercooked when compared to his now-established twin brother. The young fullback was too eager to impress, and made some wrong decisions with his passing. His speed and recovery were brilliant, however. A second half substitute, he needs to make more of a mark to push Patrice Evra for that LB spot.


Frankly, the Brazilian looked like he'd rather be elsewhere (like a steakhouse maybe?). Poor touches and control after he came on, and some bad passing when opportunities were presented - ironically these are things fans don't associate with him. If he keeps this up, the exit door is looming ever larger.

Tom Cleverly

Tom had a... subdued game. That is scary, because there were lots of opportunities to push up and create something with the ball as the All Stars tried to absorb pressure. He does seem a tad bit bulkier, though if it was a la Rooney or some muscle is to be seen. Fans would expect more from the player who looks like first choice in midfield for the next season.

Weigh in with your views in the comment section - which player impressed you the most and least, and why?

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