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Observations from Community Shield


In the baking heat of London, Chelsea won the 2009 Community Shield on penalty kicks after a 2-2 regulation tie against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium. Here are some of my observations from the match. Feel free to add yours to the comments section.

  • The match was surprisingly much more competitive than I anticipated and it was clear that both teams wanted to win by fielding first-team squads and playing with a tenacity that has been missing from the Community Shield matches over the past several years.
  • I always find it amazing how football so often can be a game of two halves. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. Manchester United absolutely controlled the first half and made Chelsea look completely sub-par. In the second half, Chelsea didn’t control the match as well as United did in the first half, but Chelsea were definitely the better side. The half-time substitution with Ivanovic coming off and Bosingwa coming on was crucial. Nani had Ivanovic’s number in the first half, after beating him several times dribbling down the left wing. With the addition of Bosingwa to replace Ivanovic, Nani was practically invisible in the second half.
  • Chelsea finally exorcised their penalty curse against Manchester United (remember the 2008 Champions League Final?), which will give them a massive boost going into the new season. It’s exactly what Chelsea and the Premier League needed to give teams and TV viewers the feeling that Manchester United are not invincible.
  • I’ve seen some poor penalty kicks in my life, but Patrice Evra’s had to be one of the most feeble I’ve ever seen.
  • Body language is everything especially in penalty kicks. I can often predict which players are going to score from the penalty kick and which ones look like they won’t score (the ones who look anxious and who aren’t calm and composed).
  • You could argue that the first three goals in the game were goalkeeping errors (or shots that the goalkeepers could have saved), while the last minute goal by Rooney liked marginally offside.
  • In the past week, there’s been plenty of debate on this site about football commentators and whether we should have American ones or British ones. My personal input is that I simply want the best. If a commentator can teach me something about the match or provide insight that I would otherwise not notice, then that’s the type of commentator I appreciate. In the case of the Community Shield, Guy Mowbray and Stewart Robson were the commentating team for the international feed. While Robson repeated himself on several occasions during the match, I thoroughly enjoyed his insight regarding key moments in the game such as Robson pointing out that Terry shouldn’t have been standing in front of Petr Cech for Man United’s first goal, and that Ben Foster should have done much better when saving Frank Lampard’s shot that ricocheted into the goal. These are just two examples. There were plenty more from their work in this match.
  • Personally I wasn’t too bothered by the refereeing decisions by Chris Foy. Manchester United fans may have been incensed that Ballack bodychecked Evra, but the fact of the matter is that the referee didn’t call a foul.

What are your thoughts regarding the Community Shield? Click the comments link below and share your opinion.

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  1. Thomas

    August 11, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I too think Chelsea is going to take the title.

    Even though I like the moves Man U made to compensate for Ronaldo’s departure (I include Berbatov in this), I still feel they might be missing the mental edge they had knowing Ronaldo would bail them out.

    Chelsea look like a team with something to prove. Just look at Drogba. If he returns to his form from a few seasons ago, look out. Chelsea will be tough.

    They easily have the strongest midfield in the league, and I think a lot of the lesser opposition is going to have a real time doing much against Mikel and Essien.

  2. The Soccer Blog

    August 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah, it was a pretty good watch. Bit sad that it had to end in the (unfair) penalties.

    Here you can find some HQ pictures of that match:

  3. Sean

    August 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Good breakdown of the match. I definitely enjoyed the intensity of the game as well. I kept saying how much better this match was than last year’s snooze-fest. Foy’s horrible decision aside, this match got me even more excited for next week and the start of the new campaign.

  4. lynyrd cohen

    August 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    evra is a cheating diver (and apparently horrible at penalties) and rooney’s equalizer was offside. cheslea was playing in a new formation with a new manager and still managed to outplay utd for most of the game.

  5. JF

    August 10, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I had some trouble with Setanta-i so I didn’t get in on the game until about the 60th minute or so. But it was quite good. Not being a soccer fan for very long, I can’t really provide any insights. But it was fun to watch a game with more intensity than the friendlies I have been watching the past few weeks.

    By the way, how long does it take for Setanta to post up the matches to On Demand? I was hoping to catch the Ligue 1 games from this weekend on there. It’s quite convenient to watch matches on my laptop while my girlfriend watches TV.

  6. Bombtune

    August 10, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I wanted to see John Terry gain some PK revenge but Oh well….

    Observations of the Real Madrid – DC United game:

  7. ish

    August 10, 2009 at 7:37 am

    evra fell like a fucking brick house. Sure it was a body check but evra’s play acting made the ref go man the fuck up son.

    Also after the goal im pretty sure foy went lenient on the manU players who crowded around him, something they frown upon now.

    ManU did control the first half but chelsea still had 2 or 3 decent chances. The way i see it the game was for the first 25 mins manU then pretty even. The in the second half chelsea steamrolled them till the second goal and from 80 mins onwards it was all united.

    The commentators for fox soccer channel, my god what a bunch of biased wankers.

  8. Tyson

    August 10, 2009 at 7:18 am

    It was an interesting match to say the least.

    One United were on the verge of winning with Hargreaves, Brown, Vidic and VDS all on the sidelines which is testament to the depth of their squad.

    The second Chelsea goal was a sham. Evra was clearly hit in the face and went down.

    You always stop the match when a player is hit in the face to allow the doctors to get to the player as soon as possible. It’s a safety precaution that is irrefutable regardless of the consequences.

    Even if somebody is on the verge of scoring the goal to win the world cup when a player gets hit in that region safety always comes first regardless of the situation.

    The referee should lose his job for making an error of judgment that risks a players wellbeing. We really can’t have something like this not being taken seriously the FA need to make an example of this moron.

  9. Andrew

    August 10, 2009 at 3:46 am

    The fact of the matter is chris foy is a twat.

    Haha, but really I don’t care that much it is the community shield, and I saw exactly what I wanted out of united, Nani looked competent and the side looked strong.

    Good showing for a community shield.

  10. Matt

    August 9, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I thought it was a great game. You could easily implant this game into the middle of the season and say the same thing.

    Chelsea lacked width with the diamond midfield and starting Ivanovic over Bosingwa cost them the first half. He was getting shredded by Nani/Evra and wasn’t getting far enough the pitch to provide any help offensively. Drogba has looked exceptional this pre season and continued that today. Anelka was making O’Shea look fairly bad. I expect a lot of goals and assists from Lamps, Anelka, and Drogba this season.

    Man U looked real good the first half. Sir Alex fielded a surprising squad IMO. No Valencia was real surprising. I loved watching the overlapping play between Evra/Nani and I could see that being a real deadly duo down the left. Fletcher seems to be filling in the role that Hargraeves would normally play and he was great. I don’t know how I feel about Foster in goal as he was shaky but with United’s opening fixtures he should be fine.

    Consider me stoked for the season.

  11. Joel

    August 9, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Well put, Gaffer. I, too, was a little surprised by the intensity of the match. This was certainly one of the best Community (Charity) Shield matches I’ve seen in awhile. As a Utd. fan, I was pleased with the overall performance of the team. I don’t blame Chelsea’s players for carrying on for their second goal, but I question Foy’s decisions. Having stopped a couple of similar situations earlier in the match, I don’t know why he chose to let this one go, without a foul, even! The real question for Ancellotti will be how he’s going to find success with that diamond midfield. Chelsea really lacked width during the 1st half, which Utd. exploited. In the end, though, it’s only the Community Shield. Is it still a week until the Premiership starts? That’s too long!

  12. eplnfl

    August 9, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Caught the 2nd half and found it an `interesting match. I liked the commentary and the production quality of the broadcast.

    What can we tell about both teams from the match. My thought is that Chelsea may be overall more talented, Man U maybe the better team. Which wins out in the long run? Who stays healthy and who gets the breaks. My sense is that United may weather the storm of the long season better and that Chelsea may still have a locker room that is hard to control. Yet, this a less talented team for Man U than seen last season, look for a big name transfer to raise the talent level.

  13. Jake

    August 9, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I really enjoyed the game. After watching replays of last years league matches and preseason friendlies for the past couple weeks, a live game with some sort of competitive quality to it had me fired up. I can’t wait for the season.

    My thoughts on the game:
    After watching Chelsea on most of their preseason games, i thought they looked to be very well prepared for the season and were gonna start very strong. Things just seemed to be clicking for them and with the rest of the Big Four being slightly weaker, they just seemed prime for the task of winning the EPL this season. So I was greatly impressed by how good Manchester United was. Not that I was expecting them to be bad, but I didn’t expect them to take it to Chelsea like they did. They actually looked like the better side, as you stated, for most of the game. This excites me because I like Manchester United, and it’s nice cheering them on when it’s not as likely for them to win as it was the past few years. It’s gonna make for a great season and that fires me up because I would not like at all to see Chelsea cruise to a title.

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