Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are all over in the United States for pre-season, with new signings like Mason Mount, Declan Rice and Christopher Nkunku all on show
Pre-season is well under way, with all of the Premier League’s top sides away on tour around the world and busy playing friendlies.
Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have all opted to head to the United States where they are training in good facilities, engaging their fans and playing some prestigious friendlies. Liverpool are currently in Germany. However, they will soon be heading to Singapore, while Tottenham are in Australia and Manchester City in Japan.
While the eyes of most fans will currently be on the transfer market, they are also keen to hear who is impressing in the friendlies. With some international players still getting up to speed, youngsters have been handed opportunities to catch the eye.
Meanwhile, fans have been given a first glimpse at new signings, some of whom have immediately impressed.
United have played two games so far and have two wins and two clean sheets to show for it. They got their pre-season off to a start with a friendly against Leeds in Oslo and faced Lyon in Edinburgh on Wednesday.
The trip to Norway came too early for some of United’s most established players, who had been given extra time off to recover from international fixtures. That meant opportunity knocked for youngsters and Erik ten Hag was happy with what he saw, as goals from Noam Emeran and Joe Hugill gave them a 2-0 win.
Ten Hag gave him a glowing review. “I think you have already seen today what he can bring,” he said. “He is a complete midfield player who suits Manchester United.”
Mount enjoyed himself too. “I really liked the role I was in today,” he said. “Being able to drop in and build up the play from a bit deeper, but with that license to go forward and make runs into the box and be involved in more attacks. I like to start off the press, to give the opposition something to think about and then to combine that with an attacking threat and rhythm of our own.”
Mount featured again in a 1-0 win over Lyon in Scotland, which came courtesy of a well-taken volley from Donny van de Beek. The match was most notable for a return to the fold for Jonny Evans after the 35-year-old defender signed a short-term deal with his old club.
The Gunners are one step ahead of United, having been in the US for some time and already played a friendly there. Mikel Arteta’s side started their pre-season in Germany, where they drew 1-1 with Nurnberg.
That match saw a debut for Kai Havertz with Bukayo Saka scoring Arsenal’s goal. Things have stepped up a notch Stateside, where Arteta has been joined by Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber following their transfers to the club.
After a decent period of training in Washington, the Gunners laid waste to Wayne Rooney ’s MLS All Stars in a 5-0 drubbing. Arsenal, sporting their eye-catching new away kit, barely got out of second gear as they thrashed the best the MLS has to offer.
Gabriel Jesus and Leandro Trossard scored high-quality goals before Jorginho, Gabriel Martinelli and Havertz also got on the scoresheet. Both Rice and Timber came off the bench to make their unofficial debuts. But it was Havertz whose performance gave the most interesting talking point after he flopped in a skills challenge.
Despite playing in midfield, Arteta hinted that the German might be used as a target man in future.
“He gives us something different,” he said. “His height for example where he can be a target man if we need to beat the press. He’s playing at centre-attacking midfield for now but I’m sure throughout the season he’ll be used in different positions.”
It’s all change at Liverpool, with Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister arriving after James Milner, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Naby Keita left. Roberto Firmino has left for Saudi Arabia, while Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are set to follow suit.
That means more midfielders are needed, but the good news for Jurgen Klopp is that the two he’s already signed look at home already. The Reds beat German side Karlsruher 4-2 on Wednesday, with Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo both scoring and Diogo Jota netting twice to secure the win.
Trent Alexander-Arnold continued to turn heads up by lining up in midfield alongside Szoboszlai. Mac Allister came off the bench wearing the No10 shirt and caught the eye of many excited fans by setting up one of Jota’s goals. The Argentine completed 27 out of 32 attempted passes and had Liverpool fans purring on social media.
Promising stuff for Liverpool’s two newest midfielders, even if more will soon be needed. Liverpool have another game against Gruether Furth in Germany on Monday before they jet off to Singapore to play Leicester and Bayern Munich.