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.