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Community Shield - 9th August 2009

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So, herewith starts what will hopefully be my Footy blog for the season 09/10.

Let it be said up front that I have been a United supporter for 14 years, so this blog will not pretend to be anything but biased. Anyway, here goes.

Pre-season finally comes to an end with the traditional Charity Shield game- United as league winners vs Chelsea as FA Cup winners.

All in all, I thought the game was good.United dominated the 1st half. Chelsea looked decidedly poor. As always, we only got one goal for all our domination, and it later cost us dearly.

Dear old Nani, who has a LOT to prove this season now that big brother Ronaldo's shadow is no longer obscuring his apparent natural talent. The goal was good enough - made some space on the edge of the box and let fly with a low curling shot that Terry and Cech somehow both managed to miss. 1-0. Looking good.

Into the second half and United took their foot off the gas. Allowing Chelsea to snatch a goal. Foster (more on him in a bit) came for a cross, collided with Drogba, allowing the ball to fall for Carvalho to head home. I have seen a foul given 1000 times over for something similar, but the ref was having none of it, and neither were the commentators. So be it. 1-1. United not looking great.

And we were to go 2-1 down with not much of the game left. But it was controversial. United in a good attacking position - Ballack goes down after NOT being fouled by anyone, ref stops play and awards a drop ball. Few moments later Evra gets elbowed in the head by Ballack, in full view of the ref, who waves play on. Chelsea break. United stop playing, waiting for either the ref to blow or for Chelski to put the ball out. Neither were forthcoming. They race up field, we only have two men back. A shot is fired in which Foster really should have covered, but it does through his hands and in.

Typical. Inconsistent refereeing in a part of the game which is unclear at the best of times. As it stands, the ref is only meant to stop play for a head injury, otherwise, it is up to the team in possession to put the ball out- but they do not have to. In this case, either should have occurred. Chelski players post-match said that if United had been in the same situation then they would have done the same. Whatever. We all know 300 million pounds might buy you a Premier League or twi but it won't buy you class.

United don't give up - a raft of subs are made - and Rooney equalises in stoppage time. For those of you thinking it looked offside, might I remind you that in a close call, advantage is meant to go to the attacking team when it comes to offside, to promote attacking play and goal-scoring. Not offside. Good goal. Fair result.

On to penalties.
United lose 4-1. This is an area on which we are going to have to work. Giggs with all his experience, drilled the ball at the keeper's legs. And as for Evra. He passed the ball at Cech. Who gratefully accepted. Cheslki's pens were all good.


Referee: Chris Foy

Poor. All round. Some questionable yellow cards early on, followed by a very poor and inconsistent 2nd half where he stopped play for a harmless injury to Ballack (who just got up and didn't need treatment at all) and let play carry on for a clear and serious head injury to Evra. He then booked Evra for a strong challenge which was all ball. Poor, and almost ruined what had been a good, clean game.

UNITED ( I am not rating the Chelski lads - what do you think this is?)

Foster 4/10
A couple of good saves cannot cover up the fact that vd Sar's apparent number two is a decidedly shaky substitute. He never looked comfortable, neither on crosses, nor with his distribution. While he was unlucky for the 1st goal, he should have done better for the second and did not do anything in the shootout (although most of those pens were unsaveable)

O'Shea 6/10
Quiet performance. Found wanting once or twice at the back and didn't get forward as much as I would have liked.

Evans 6/10
Didn't really see much of him.

Ferdinand 7/10
Seemed to do what he had to, when he had to

Evra 7/10 (-1 for that penalty 'attempt')
Had a great first half linking up well with Nani down the wing. Faded somewhat in the second half. For my money, his tussles with Ballack should never have resulted in us conceding nor in his booking, and as for that penalty. If you thought BBT in the semi of the FA Cup last year looked uninterested. Wow.

Nani 7/10
Good game. He has a LOT to prove this season, so he really needs some more games like this. The goal was good, and his link up play in the 1st half was great with Evra. His penalty would have gone in, I can tell you that much.

Carrick and Fletcher 6/10
Quiet game for both in the 'engine room'. For me, Carrick really needs to step up if he is meant to become a Scholes type of player. Fletcher was solid, if unspectacular.

Park 3/10
With Nani seemingly playing well and Anderson out of the picture for now, Park has to be my least favourite United player. You cannot fault the kid for effort. But you can for skill. Much like Tevez (but a lot less effective) he runs around a LOT without actually ever doing anything at all. And why is he always the most advanced player on the pitch? He is the last guy you want the ball going to in a one on one with the keeper. For me, he is a bit-part player who should only start games if other players are injured, or if it's a silly cup game of some kind. The commentators seemed to think that by running around and getting a lot of attention and wasting a lot of good ball and chances in the first half, he had had a good game. I do not concur.

Rooney 7/10
Looked his usual menacing self in the 1st half, but faded somewhat second half. His equaliser was well-taken, though. And I think if he plays up front where he should, he can hit 20 goals this season.

Berbatov 5/10
One of my favourite United players. I have wanted him to come to United for ages now and I think that his impact since he has arrived has been highly underrated (not underrated like Park, who is just crap). His first touch is the best in the world, and his petulance and nonchalant attitude remind me so much of Cantona. Today was not his best game. A lot of good touches and flicks in the 1st half but nothing really in the 2nd - he was subbed halfway through. Still, with Rooney up front and Valencia in the midfield, he should also look to hit 20 goals this term.

Subs: Owen: Did not have much ball at all. I can see how using him as a speedy sub for 20-30 mins a game is going to work wonders, though, especially against bottom half opposition.

Giggs. Did not do much either. And he will be embarrassed by his penalty.

Scholes. Very quiet though not on for long.

FABIO. Did what was necessary. Got in a few crosses.

Valencia. A few harsh calls out on the right saw most of his work end up in a free kick to Chelski. Should have started the game.

All in all, a good warm-up game. The real stuff starts next week. Thank goodness we have a nice easy first 7 or so games. We should destroy most of the lessor teams, like last season.

Foster should be number three with Kuzcak starting while vd Sar is out (for two months!)

Park should never start for us. Valencia must start every game. He is class.

Confident of nine or even ten wins out of the 1st ten games. Brimingham, Burnley, Wigan, Arsenal (H), Spurs, City (H), Stoke, SUnderland and Bolton. Not impossible. Roll on the 16th

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  1. Kevin FNB's Avatar
    I agree you e with you 100%.
    I think we taking alot of strain this session. Honestly i think Forester is useless, we need a better reserve keeper.
    These Liverpool fans at work are gunning me down because we lost 2-0. It was a terrible performance from both sides anyway.
    I still believe we should have got a penalty in the first half as well, that would have changed the game completely.