Manchester United wrapped up their 2021 pre-season programme with a convincing 4-0 over a lacklustre Everton at Old Trafford, with one week to go before the new Premier League campaign kicks off against Leeds on Saturday 14 August.
United raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to a dominant first half performance against the Toffees, who then improved after the interval, before a late fourth from United capped off a fine day.
Here’s a look at five things from a United perspective to take away from the game…
Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes were among United’s best performers in the game, all looking fresh and hungry even after playing at Euro 2020 earlier in the summer and having delayed and short holidays as a result.
Fernandes was underwhelming for Portugal at the Euros but was in top form here, even without his sublime free-kick. Maguire scored a bullet header from a corner, which makes you think he could contribute a significant number of goals moving forward if he could do that more often, while it was refreshing to see Shaw in good shape, despite carrying wrist and rib injuries at Euro 2020.
Nemanja Matic recently turned 33, but his performance in the opening 45 minutes had United fans wishing he was several years younger.
The veteran Serbian, who only started 12 Premier League games last season, turned back the clock and controlled the game from the base of the midfield, ensuring that Everton were unable to get a foothold until long after he had been withdrawn at the interval.
If only he was 26 instead of 33 and could play like that every week, central midfield probably wouldn’t be a position that needs strengthening.
Alongside Matic, United fans were treated to a different Donny van de Beek.
The Dutchman famously struggled in his debut season, appearing to be lacking the necessary physical strength and fitness to make it in the relentless Premier League, but he has been following a new training programme over the summer and the results are starting to show.
Van de Beek and Matic had United playing at a high tempo in the first half that was lost after they were both substituted to give others a chance in the second half.
This could well be the season that the former Ajax star comes good and proves his worth.
Forgetting his questionable meal choice for one minute, Mason Greenwood was looking sharp and was rewarded for his performance with the early first goal.
Starting from the right flank, the 19-year-old capitalised on an Everton mistake to get that goal, sneaking in after Jordan Pickford was unable to collect the ball. He later moved into a more central role after Anthony Martial was replaced at half-time.
Although he finished on a respectable 12 goals in all competitions last season, Greenwood had a slow start to the difficult campaign. But early signs are positive for him as he continues to learn, develop and hone his game, which is especially important now there is increased competition for places from Jadon Sancho.
For all that this a comfortable win for a pretty strong United team, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will soon have more players to add into the mix.
Raphael Varane is in the process of finalising his transfer from Real Madrid, while there has been no Jadon Sancho so far either. Marcus Rashford will be absent for a little while to allow him to recover from shoulder surgery. There was no Edinson Cavani just yet, a rejuvenated Jesse Lingard is out with coronavirus and Paul Pogba only played in the second half.
Once those six and others are up to full speed, United could have a real chance of mounting a first serious Premier League title challenge since they last won it in 2013.