The Red Devils overcame champions Leicester City in the season’s traditional curtain-raiser and we bring you five key takeaways from the contest at Wembley…
Jose Mourinho secured his first piece of silverware as Manchester United manager by overcoming Leicester City 2-1, but there were a lot of subplots running thick on the pitch. Here are five things we took away from a special afternoon at Wembley.
The boy loves Wembley
It has been 50 years since the English won the World Cup and the tributes were flowing in the stadium with both sets of fans belting chants for their legends.
(Picture Courtesy – amebobook.com
What they did not envisage was a goal from Jesse Lingard that would be the biggest homage to the icons looking down on him. Latching on to a ball in the middle of the park the midfielder did something that summarised English football 50 years on from that glorious moment. There he was, a young English lad running unhinged on the hallowed ground of English football, bathed in sunshine, looking to make a mark, skipping past challenges, taking one on the way before slotting it home.
The kids are alright
The Community Shield was supposed to give the onlookers and the managers themselves a tentative idea about their squads and starting elevens. Claudio Ranieri had his work cut out in successfully retaining the nucleus of the title-winning side from last season and making quick and efficient acquisitions to soften the blow of any departures. But, it is a task the Italian seems to have managed well so far.
Mourinho had hinted at providing game time to as many of his players as he could and so far the signs are promising for the United faithful. Standout performances from Eric Bailly(MOTM), Luke Shaw and Lingard indicate that the Portuguese might finally be at the point in his career where he can shake off the accusations of ignoring youth while spending big on finished products.
The God of Manchester claims his territory
Difficult words to live up to,unless you’re the Super Swede. The man who wins wherever he goes wasted little time in adding title number 31 to his seizure-inciting trophy cabinet. A presence on the pitch right from the kick-off, Zlatan Ibrahimovic ensured each and every Leicester player knew who they were facing up against.
Well before he scored in usual dramatic circumstances to seal the win for United, Ibrahimovic was carrying out defensive duties in and out of his own half. Not bad for a striker in his late 30’s.
The winning goal though was vintage Zlatan, a looping cross from the right after some good work from Antonio Valencia and there he was, making a title-winning defender like Wes Morgan look an impediment with a smart header across goal.
Sir Alex Ferguson bought Eric Cantona and Robin Van Persie for a specific reason,and results were achieved. The lanky Swede could very well be included in that list of masterstrokes in some time
Mourinho working his magic
Although one must be mindful not to read too much into a single game there were already signs that United’s new Portuguese boss had got to work. With the needless square balls and sideways passes at the back largely erased that was a better intensity about the players’ movement and a distinct sense of purpose with every pass, two factors that were often missing in Louis van Gaal’s laborious reign.
There was delirium around Wembley even before a ball had been kicked. While the ones in blue were catatonic, the ones in red were already dancing. The 100m man was on his way to Manchester and when he does show up with his latest haircut, he will find a spot in the United midfield which has been left vacant ever since the ‘Ginga Ninja’ Paul Scholes decided to hang up his boots.
He will find himself with either the experienced Michael Carrick, the ever-running Ander Herrea, or compatriot Morgan Schniederlin. With his official medical and impending announcement inching closer, Bournemouth might feel the ‘boom’ when Pogba steps out wearing the Manchester red again.
Editorial by Khel Now-Feature Columnist Chaitanya Lekhwani, He is a content creator and a writer. A devout Manchester United supporter and loves the good, bad and the ugly side of the beautiful game.
Favourite player: Ronaldo ‘Fenomeno’ Nazario de Lima
You can follow him on Twitter.