Forget about the fact that we've added yet another accolade and piece of history to ourselves as that is not what our season will be remembered for come May. The thing is, the Community Shield is kind of a competitive pre-season friendly so it's a more objective yardstick against which one can judge his team's readiness for the new season ahead. That we were up against our main challengers for the title next term makes it all the more credible.
So we won 3-1 but the real story of how ready we are lies in individual assessment of the players some of our key players.
EVDS: Our close to 40 years old goalkeeper once again underlined the fact that he'll take some replacing by running Paul Scholes all the way in the man of the match award. Scholes probably just edged it but the quality of goalkeeping form the Dutchman was once again top notch. If his stays fit for the larger part of next season, then I doubt we'll let in as many as we did last term.
Michael Carrick; Now this was a shocker. Sir Alex confirmed to the world media pre-match that Carrick would be out for the start of the season. He did take part in the open training on Saturday but you thought a full throttle game like yesterday's would be to son for him. Anyway, he made it from the start and put in a somewhat better performance than he did last season. I tried to pay closer attention to his performance and defensive cover and I thought it was more of the Michael Carrick that started the 2008 Champions League final. Whether he can maintain that level of performance over the course of the season is another issue all together. For now though, cheers Michael!
Antonio Valecia: He got the opener. He set up the second and so one would say he did what he's paid for. Not quite for me. I think Valencia will do well to add a bit of spice to his wing play---that spice being to make use of the space he creates for himself. He needs to use the first time ball more often than he does. Take the case in the first half when he dad acres of space for himself to pick a perfect pass for either Owen or Rooney but he chose to wait till Chelsea got bodies back and Rooney's frustration was evident. So when Scholes played Rooney down the wing, the England striker showed the Ecuadorian the value of a first time ball through the legs of Terry and Valecia found himself with the easy task of slotting home. I thought he learned a bit of the same when creating Javier Hernandez' goal.
Javier Hernandez; I recently blogged that Chicharito had almost perfect goal per game ratio for Mexico but it seems he's building a similar kind of ratio at United even despite not playing 90 minutes for us in any game so far. I've been trying to look for the one difference between him and the other forwards we have and I think it's got to do with the fact that he's got the Ruud van Nistelrooy ability of being in the right place at the right time. Not so different to what Michael Owen has but Michael has put on weight and hence is unlikely to convert the kind of chance he had in the first half with the goal at his mercy. You'd however back Hernandez to dash there in time to slide the ball home. The only downside to his game unfortunately might have have everything to do with the officials. I think he's too quick that the officials might wrongly flag him offside for the entire campaign. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.
I thought that the biggest worrying stat for us was that we kept less of the ball in midfield. Without a doubt, I think that's one area we are light in and given that Sir Alex has confirmed that he was watching Fulham and not Ozil, I think we'll have to cross our fingers that our best midfielders are available for the larger part of the season.
More encouraging however is that we seemed a strong outfit without a host of first team players. That we beat Chelsea in the manner that we did without Rio, Hargo, Ando, Gary, Gabriel, Tom, etc.. should bode well for us.
Labels: FA COMMUNITY SHEILD