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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Man Utd beat Chelsea to win Community Shield

Manchester United won the Community Shield on Sunday after beating Chelsea on penalties. The Premier League Champions scored during the first half through Ryan Giggs but Chelsea, the FA Cup winners and last year's runner up in the League, equalised through new signing Malouda. United keeper became the hero during the penalty shootout when he saved all three of Chelsea's spot kicks.

Both teams sprang surprises during the kick-off. Manchester United named Patrice Evra, usually a left back, at wide left of midfield. I understand this was done so to accommodate United's other left back, Mikael Silvestre who wants to do a Heinze and leave United. Alex Ferguson, the United manager could have included Silvestre in the team to prevent him from leaving.

Chelsea's team was more of a surprise. No Drogba - he's out for a few weeks. And more importantly no John Terry. The skipper will be out for one month. Upfront, Jose Mourinho used Joe Cole as the main striker supported by Malouda on the left wing and Wright-Phillips on the other.

I thought Chelsea's attack was ineffective throughout the game. Using Joe Cole as a striker isn't the best decision made by Mourinho. Cole is at his best on the wings or as a midfielder. Wright-Phillips was a threat, occasionally on the right side but his crossing was poor most of the time. The only good spark is Malouda. The Frenchman scored the equaliser for Chelsea after showing considerable strength to hold off and then beat the clumsy Rio Ferdinand. Frank Lampard was also poor for Chelsea in midfield. The other debutant, Tal Ben Haim looked ok at centre back while new striker Pizarro looked a little overweight when he came on later. Mourinho said after the match that his side controlled the game. I was wondering which game he was watching. I thought his side was poor.

As for Man Utd, we did get to see new signing Nani who came on as a substitute. We did not see much of his Ronaldo-like dribbling and step overs in the game though. He did take some of the dead balls for United. He looked a bit rusty to me. I think he needs some more games to tune up. Silvestre was poor at left back. He seems to be losing his pace. There were many times when Wright-Phillips skipped past him easily. I expect the impressive Patrice Evra to be United's first choice left back when the Premier League season commences. Evra did well on the left wing. It was him who created the goal for Ryan Giggs who played upfront with Rooney. Cristiano Ronaldo had one of his quieter games for United. Maybe he was saving his best for the league season. My only concern with United is the striking positions. United does not have a good target man to play upfront with Wayne Rooney. During this game, Giggs was paired with Rooney and Rooney as usual did not look comfortable playing the role of the striker chasing after the balls. Rooney needs to play beside or behind a natural out and out striker if he is to be effective.

Man of the match: For me it it had to be United keeper Van der Sar for saving all three of Chelsea's spot kicks.

Memorable moments of the match: Nani misplacing his passes when he entered the game and he even fell down without anyone near him. Later he had his boots replaced. Blame it on the boots son! Second, the look on Mourinho's face after Van Der Sar saved all three of Chelsea's penalties And lastly, Alex Ferguson's man boobs. I swear I saw them when the tv camera showed his side profile.

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