Well fellow soccer fans, if there is a better way for the season to start, I would love to hear it…
The final whistle was literally just blown on the inaugural English first division match of the year, the traditional FA Community Shield. As is customary, this match is played each year one week before the regular campaign is set to begin. Sort of as a precursor to the upcoming season.
This years match pinned cross-town rivals against each other in the hallowed Manchester Derby. United and City did not fail to put on a show for us today, and it leaves fans wondering what the regular season has to offer.
Though utterly dominant in the first half, United went into the break down 2-0. Toting a starting lineup featuring Danny Welbeck up front aside Wayne Rooney, and no Rio Ferdinand, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side seemed somewhat off. Goals from Jolean Lescott and Edin Dzeko put the Eastlands side ahead at the interval, but anyone who is familiar with the Red Devils knows they do not go away easily. The real talking point of the first half was the anxious, uncertain performance from Manchester United new boy David De Gea. The Spanish U-21 International seemed quite shaky between the pipes, allowing a goal by Dzeko to sneak in from a formidable distance.
United came out for the second half with a renewed sense of vigor and determination, and they continued to dominate possession and control the flow of the game. It was not until the 52nd minute that the Red Devil’s first goal came from an unlikely source, center-back Chris Smalling. On a gorgeous set-piece played in by the newly acquired Ashley Young, Smalling one-touched the ball into the back of the net. Not having to wait too long for the equalizer, a mere 6 minutes later Nani finished off an immaculate passing move by slotting the ball past Joe Hart. The build up play was impeccable with Nani, Tom Cleverley, and Wayne Rooney all getting touches on the ball in and around the 18. Climaxed by a Rooney back heel pass to Nani for the finish.
As 4 minutes of extra-time were added onto the 90, it was always evident that the embers of the match continued to burn. And those embers engulfed City in the 94th minute when Nani got out on the quick break and scored to give United their 15th ever Community Shield title.
If this match was any indicator of what the upcoming English Premier League campaign is going to be like, I cannot wait. With at least 5 teams set to contend for the title, it will be anything but droll. City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Spurs will all look to dethrone champions Manchester United, who are in search of an unparalleled 20th Barclays Premier League Championship. With valiant, strong willed performances like this, it will be difficult to deny them.