As Man United and Real Madrid played out their shambolic penalty shootout on Sunday night, where only 3 penalties were successfully converted after five attempts apiece, I thought to myself “what’s the point? What do you get from playing this game?”. Well, let’s have a look.
Strictly speaking, United’s game vs Real on Sunday wasn’t a friendly, it was an International Champions Cup matchup, and United did gain three points for their win, however, contrary to the important-sounding name, the International Champions Cup doesn’t really mean much. In fact, winning the ICC affects your season’s overview far less than even the Charity Shield, so Madrid won’t be too fussed over the loss.
However, the preseason tour does give a valuable opportunity to warm up the squad and keep the momentum. It can also be used as a chance to test some tactics you wouldn’t normally use in an important game on an opponent that won’t give you an easy ride. For example, Real Madrid switched their squad almost entirely at half-time and brought on an eleven made up of mostly reserves and youngsters, and Man United tried playing with a 4-3-3, with a lightning-fast front three of Martial, Rashford and Lingard at the start. The two sides will also play in the UEFA Super Cup on August 8th in Macedonia, so an opportunity to suss out the opposition could prove vital for both sides.
So, there’s no significant reward for doing well in preseason, but clubs do benefit from their tours massively. The big clubs often agree to play each other in places like the US, and the middle-east, so that they can spread their brand to a new place and grow their foreign industry. By charging tickets at over £100 each and playing a few relaxed games under a sponsor-run brand they gain more fans and having more fans mean more merchandise sales, and more merchandise sales mean more money, so it’s a win win.
Overall, on preseason, clubs get to expose their brand, gain money, give youth a chance and test out next formations and tactics, so there really isn’t anything to lose. And, although staying up until 5-AM to see your club’s second side play Real Madrid in Washington or Dubai might seem like a good idea, I promise you will regret it the next morning!
Also, on another note, if you are into your fantasy football then please do join my league, “the dugout cup”. Here’s the link:https://fantasy.premierleague.com/?autojoin-code=973676-233557
Just click it, select your squad and you can take me and everybody else on!
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