|photo by Oneras||via PhotoRee|
They're baaaaaack! Or at least some of them are. In a game most notable as the inaugural bow of David Moyes, the subplot involved the paucity of players available for the English champions as they took the pitch last night in Thailand against the Singha All-Stars. As it was, and keeping in mind it was only a pre-season game (and the squad's 2013/2014 debut, at that), Moyes' first lineup in charge of Manchester United looked like this: Amos, Fabio, Ferdinand, Evans, Buttner, Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, Januzaj, Giggs, Welbeck. Some familiar names to be sure, but also at least one that caused anyone in the stadium but the most fervent of Reds to go scurrying for their souvenir game day program.
A listless first half was always likely due to the oppressive heat and humidity at game time, and lethargy was definitely what the crowd witnessed during the contest's first thirty minutes. The sole source of energy from the visitors was powered by the feet of young Adnan Januzaj, who easily shifted sides of the pitch while simultaneously showcasing deft footwork, nice control and decent speed. Although United appeared to be getting on top of the match as it drifted toward halftime, it was only the outstretched right arm of goalkeeper Ben Amos which kept the scoreline level at nil at the break.
While the Singha All-Stars grabbed an unexpected lead less than five minutes after the restart, the visitors continued their feckless display well into in the second half. Even the much ballyhooed introduction of newboy Wilfried Zaha failed to change the outcome -- although the Championship Player of the Year did crash the post with a curling shot in the 82nd minute that would have put United on level terms, perhaps undeservedly so.
For a debut, it was rather inauspicious. For youngsters looking to impress, only Januzaj and Zaha truly caught the eye -- although the former's formidable start eventually petered out somewhere into the soupy Thailand evening. For United, it was a rare pre-season loss, and immediately on the plane for Australia to continue their pre-season training. For their new Manager, it could not have been the start for which he was hoping, but at this early stage we're sure he's none too bothered.
This is a not-yet-worried-yet farlieonfootie for July 14.