New Delhi: The Community Shield took place on Sunday and saw a befitting match between the Premier League champions and the FA Cup champions of last season. Leicester City had a whirlwind season to become the champions of England and Manchester United had a topsy-turvy season in which they won the FA Cup and sacked their manager Louis Van Gaal, days after the victory.
After average pre-season tours, both the teams came into the game with different objectives. Leicester had to prove they weren’t ‘one-season wonders’, and United had to prove they belong at the top after wholesome changes in the summer. Managers Cluadio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho, both wanted their teams to start the season with a victory and the team line-ups said exactly that.
The match ended 2-1 in favor of the Red Devils, with Jesse Lingard scoring a brilliant solo goal and summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic heading the winning goal. English forward Jamie Vardy scored for the Foxes, albeit after a casual error from Maraoune Fellaini. United, minutes before the game, also announced the medical of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, whose arrival has been imminent for weeks now. Pogba was officially announced by Manchester United on Monday.
Here, we will see important aspects we derived from the game:
1. England and Manchester United’s captain Wayne Rooney has been poor. Rooney hampered the attacking play of United a number of times. Rooney couldn’t link up with Zlatan throughout the game, which is otherwise going to crucial for Mourinho’s team this season.
2. Luke Shaw can develop into the world’s best left-back in two years’ time. With Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling as central defenders, this United defence is bound to be better. Luke looks extremely fit and is teaming up with others well. He has been strong in defence and has been contributing well in attack too. United has, finally, found a replacement for Patrice Evra.
3. Leicester City will not throw in the towel just yet. They’ll be a hard team to play against. Leicester played positive football, with Riyad Mahrez being the stand-out performer. The Foxes have attacking wingers and very fine strikers in Jamie Vardy, Shinji Okazaki and Ahmed Musa.
4. Jamie Vardy showed his lethal prowess and that his poacher’s instinct is there to stay. His speed and his link-up play looks to be better than last season. Vardy is running on the defenders in a more confident way, making it very good for the Leicester faithful. All the new signings and players from academy played their part well, giving confident performances.
5. Zlatan can’t attack alone. He’s trying very hard, and is giving it his all. He needs a striker beside him to flourish. Rashford is not the name. Not even Rooney. The solution lies somewhere else. Zlatan, at 35, is throughout the pitch. He’s playing in the centre of the park, is pushing the team up, coming back to defend at corners and this level of work-load might not work for a long-time. Mourinho must solve this problem soon.
6. Antonio Valencia needs to be more creative in attack. He’s learning and picking a leaf or two out of Bailly’s book already in defence and has been very safe, but needs to make more crosses and runs at defenders. He must be more confident and should leave the LVG’s way of passing it back.
7. Lingard deserves his place in the team. Not a great talent, but a hard-worker. We might have just found out own replacement of Park Ji Sung. Always comes up with important goals and valuable contributions for the team.
8. Pogba would fill in perfectly in United’s midfield. With either Micheal Carrick or Ander Herrara, Pogba is the next lynchpin of this midfield, which needs a bully, and Pogba is one. Carrick doesn’t try to head and goes in for hard tackles, but is our best bet in taking the game forward from the middle of the park, and he needs someone like Pogba, who can do the dirty work in the middle of the park. Pogba’s creativity and goal scoring abilities are an added incentive, which would be handful to this newly-built United side.
Both the teams played good, goal-oriented football, with United being a little sluggish in the post-LVG era. The Premier League begins on the 13th of August and it will be interesting to see the new teams fight it out. The world is waiting for the world’s most popular football league to begin!