LOOKING at the Community Shield as a showpiece spectacle has always been a step too far for me. It struggles in the netherworld between pre-season friendly and competition for silverware. It is both and it is neither and the idea is that should your team win it it’s important and if they lose it, well then it never was and never will be. To their credit Manchester United statisticians have always included it in the Pre-season group of statistics, and due to the fact that we lost I’ll happily go along with that.
There are, however, positives to be taken from the game. One Portuguese winger reached world class status thanks to his performances for our team, yesterday Nani stepped up to show that he at least intends to try and do the same. Some fans have questioned his quality and commitment to the side up until now but the stage is his to prove them wrong. What will the future hold, will he be Thriller or Earth Song, David Beckham or Kieran Richardson. He did okay yesterday before his injury, a goal, a lively performance and a little bit of a nap while allowing Chelsea to equalise.
Not Bad for starters.
There is one Smooth Criminal that should indeed have a word with himself today, referring of course to Michael Ballack who robbed Patrice Evra of his pesky need to stand up on the football field and floored him with an elbow to the face. Wayne Rooney had possession, Wayne Rooney lost possession, and Frank Lampard was nice enough to put the ball in the net for a 2:1 Chelsea lead to allow for the debate that would follow.
United players wanted to play on after a previous incident involving Ballack this time on the receiving end. Play was stopped, Ballack jumped up, hickory dickory dock. Chelsea players were not at fault for playing on at all. The fact that Wayne Rooney scored a last minute leveller did little to put the issue to bed. Much like Park, it’s a little firecracker that is going to run and run and run.
Sadly, no-one reminded Ben Foster that he has a history of being good in shootouts; no-one was prepared for the fact that Ryan Giggs might not hit the target and it seems no-one taught Patrice Evra how to take a penalty at all. I’ve not seen a shot that bad since David Seaman versus Peter Schmiechel in the ‘Shield’ of 1993.
All in all Valencia had spark, Owen had a chance, Foster forgot how to kick at times but made up for it with a few decent saves. Nani was in til his shoulder was out, Rooney was lively and Berbatov had some colour in his cheeks (ok so that last bit was a bit far fetched, I know).
There were lots of good things to take away; just not that shield thingy. Until next time… GtS