If the Community Shield match on 09 August 2009 was a barometer of what the season will bring, then fans of English Premier League Football are in for an exciting season. I hope that they don’t all have that type of excitement; my blood pressure can’t take it. The Community Shield match let us see some of the Manchester United strengths (Nani, Rooney, Valencia) and weaknesses (Foster, defence). Unlike past Community Shield matches we didn’t get that friendly atmosphere.
The clubs did little to mask an underlying animosity cultivated over 105 years of rivalry. This years Community Shield was no different. The controversy came after Patrice Evra was knocked to the ground by a blow levied by mid fielder Michael Ballack. Chelsea kept playing while Manchester United stopped playing, instead of waiting for a whistle. The result was a Frank Lampard goal. Five days later and the people are still questioning Referee Chris Foy’s decision not to stop play. The decision, or lack thereof, added to the storied rivalry that these two clubs share.
The first half saw an attempt by Nani to seat the now vacant throne of Chrstiano Ronaldo when Nani let loose with an Ronaldoesque volley that put the Red Devils on the board first. Manchester United did not see the net again until two minutes into stopage time when Rooney took a pass from Giggs and sent the match into penalites. Poor Keeping from Foster, and poor shooting from Manchester United saw a loss for the Red Devils, and Chelsea breaking their penalty curse.
The absence of Vidic and Van der saar was felt in the community shield match. Foster was good in the box, but us Manchester United fans have been spoiled by the greatness of Edwin Van der Saar, Van der Saar takes command; telling everyone where they need to be during free kicks and corners. Foster can get there; but he needs to develop some self confidence. No, strike that, arrogance. Some day Foster’s name will be mentioned in the same sentence as Casillas, Howard, and Van der saar. Nothing personal; but i know I speak for many Manchester United fans when I say that I could feel him shaking when the ball was being moved down to his area of the pitch. And Vidic? Nothing else needs to be said about Nemanja Vidic. The man is a beast. making strikers pay when they dare cross into Red Devil’s territory. Vidic will be missed until his return.
So with the Community Shield match we did see the weak spots. Funny about those weaknesses they had more to do with temporary absences, instead of the permanent departure of Ronaldo and Tevez. The gaffer tells us that number four is possible this season. I know that many other writers are already putting Chelsea in the top spot. I think that Chelsea can mount a formidable challenge; but Ancelotti, Abromovich, and company are about to be taught the lesson that they have yet to learn. Greatness can’t be bought; it must be earned.
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