FA COMMUNITY SHEILD 2010/2011

Community Shield: Chelsea 1-3 Manchester United – Javier Hernandez strikes on debut as Red Devils win season’s first silverware

Chelsea choke as Berbatov seals win with touch of class…

By Nick Price

Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United (Getty Images)
Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United (Getty Images)

Manchester United lifted the first trophy of the 2010-11 campaign with a 3-1 Community Shield victory over last season’s league and cup winners Chelsea.

United took a first-half lead after an excellent quick-fire move that culminated in an Antonio Valencia goal, before new signing Javier Hernandez’s second half scuffle bobbled beyond Hilario to make it 2-0.

A late Salomon Kalou strike narrowed the gap and gave Chelsea a platform to rally a comeback from, before Dimitar Berbatov sealed victory with a glorious chip in injury time.

Both sides welcomed back absentees through injury, with the Red Devil’s Michael Owen making his first competitive appearance since falling foul of the Wembley turf in the Carling Cup final in February. Chelsea afforded a start to Michael Essien, who missed the World Cup 2010 with Ghana after playing a limited amount of football throughout last season.

Neither manager handed starts to their summer signings, with Hernandez and Yossi Benayoun watching from the bench after making moves to the Premier League runners up and winners respectively.

First-half

Partnering Owen up-front for United was Wayne Rooney, returning from a poor World Cup in South Africa, but the striker showed early signs of recapturing the club form that saw him score 34 times during the last campaign.

The ex-Evertonian helped carve out United’s first opportunity on goal, dropping deep to collect the ball before hitting a measured pass that bypassed the Chelsea backline and fell to Antonio Valencia. However, the Ecuadorian failed to beat Hilario with a lofted shot.

The former Wigan Athletic winger turned provider moments later after finding space down the right hand side, but his weighted cross to Paul Scholes – who had found space in the middle of the box – saw the veteran midfielder disappointingly smash the ball over.

 

First blood | Antonio Valencia opens the scoring for United

At the other end, Chelsea’s first effort on goal came courtesy of a stinging drive from Nicolas Anelka that had Edwin van der Sar sprawling across the goal to tip it away. However, the danger was still not over as Saloman Kalou collected the loose ball and rounded the Dutchman, but with the angle against him he elected to pass across goal, allowing Brazilian full-back Fabio to clear after a clattering challenge on Essien.

Last season’s double winners should have done better soon after from a free-kick out wide, but Frank Lampard’s rolled short pass to Florent Malouda was poorly anticipated as the Frenchman scuffed his shot from the edge of the area.

Carlo Ancelotti’s champions came closer on 17 minutes via another set-piece, this time delivered by Malouda from deep. With Branislav Ivanovic rose above his marker and planted a header to the far corner, but an acrobatic van der Sar was on hand to tip the ball wide.

United were soon threatening Chelsea once more, with a clever Schole’s chip finding Rooney in the area, but the Red Devils’ powerful striker could only drag his shot wide of Hilario’s goal, while Owen did not react quick enough to turn in the loose ball.

What had been a highly entertaining opening soon petered out into a stop-start affair, with both sides struggling to conjure up telling final balls and exchanging periods of possession to little effect.

The frustration was epitomised in a brief period of activity that saw a sweeping Chelsea move end with a limp Lampard pass to van der Sar, before a stellar cross-field ball from Scholes picked out Valencia in space, only for the winger to smack his cross into the legs of Ashley Cole.

Finally United were able to piece together a well worked move as Scholes – who had sprayed the ball with precision throughout the first-half – picked out Rooney running towards the corner flag, and the England international turned the ball into the box where a sprinting Valencia powerfully struck into the roof of yet.

The goal added impetus to what had become a sloppy and stuttering game, with Rooney reinvigorated and tracking back with gusto, and Essien hitting narrowly wide from distance as Chelsea pressed for an equaliser prior to the break.

Second-half

Half-time saw, as promised by Sir Alex Ferguson, the withdrawals of Rooney, Owen, and Park Ji-Sung as Javier Hernandez, Dimitar Berbatov, and Nani came on, while Ancelotti opted to make no changes.

Malouda had the first chance of note in the second half, allowing a pass to roll around his body before unleashing a left-footed drive that had van der Sar beaten before glancing just wide of the far post.

Hernandez – with the nickname ‘Chicharito’ adorned on his shirt – then showed glimpses of what his manager deemed worthy of shelling out a reported £7 million for. Latching onto a Schole’s pass and slipping a neat first-time ball through to Berbatov, only for the Bulgarian to fall short.

United showed further quick thinking from a free-kick minutes later. As Chelsea players surrounded referee Andre Marriner, Scholes slipped the ball to midfield partner Michael Carrick who beat one blue shirt before passing to Valencia in space, but again the Ecuadorian could not pick out a team-mate despite being under little pressure.

Chelsea failed to prise open United after 15 minutes, and Ancelotti deemed it necessary to bring on Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge for Anelka and Jon Obi Mikel. Malouda shifted into the middle of the pitch alongside Essien and Lampard, as Kalou dropped to the left hand side of the pitch to accommodate the two incoming strikers.

The switch looked to have made the anticipated impact as Chelsea pushed forward with greater poise, and Kalou came close just minutes after the reshuffle after receiving the ball from Malouda, but the young Ivorian’s shot was well caught by van der Sar.

Kalou and Malouda teamed up again moments later to tee-up Essien, who shaped and hit a distinctively venemous strike from range that only just steered wide of the United goal.

The strength and guile of Drogba was evident too, as the talisman out-muscled Scholes and Carrick before splitting the defence with a pass to Malouda that necessitated a brave block from van der Sar.

The Dutch keeper, however, soon had a horror moment that he should really have been punished for. A high cross from Paulo Ferreira ought to have been grasped, but van der Sar could only tip it to Cole at the far post. Yet the left-back had to wait for the ball to sit before awkwardly angling a shot straight at the ‘keeper, who had retreated to the goal-line.

Both managers introduced two débutantes with Chris Smalling replacing Jonny Evans for United and Yossi Benayoun, a surprise signing from Liverpool, coming on for Malouda.

It was another substitute who would get the second goal of the game as Hernandezopened his account in English football after fortunately turning in a cross from Valencia, who had raced clear of Cole before turning the ball across the face of the goal. Despite slipping, the ball smashed into the ground before it bounced off his head and into the back of the net.

Dream debut | Javier Hernandez adds United’s second

That signalled a second double substitution from Ancelotti, with Yuri Zhirkov – rumoured to be leaving to Zenit St Petersburg – switching for Cole. Youngster Jeffrey Bruma also came on, replacing Ferreira. Ryan Giggs came on at the same time to make his 13th Community Shield appearance in a straight swap for Carrick.

Chelsea substitute Sturridge should have closed the gap with a splendid chance after receiving the ball through the right channel, but the former Manchester City striker couldn’t manage to lift it over van der Sar on his favoured left foot.

Sturridge, however, would be integral to his side’s fortunes just moments later after confidently striding forward from the right-wing and hitting a rocket of a shot that van der Sar could only parry into the path of Kalou who was left with a simple finish.

A similar opportunity would present itself to Drogba, again following another Sturridge shot, but the Ivorian – returning from surgery and an injury ridden World Cup – could only hit the side netting from a seemingly offside position.

Zhirkov then fizzed a cross across the face of goal that was clattered away before a touch of class from Berbatov saw United’s two goal advantage restored. The Bulgarian finished an exquisite team move with a superb chip over Hilario from just outside the area to hand United the season’s first taste of silverware.

Watch the goals from today’s Community Shield courtesy of 101greatgoals.com here

 

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