London (AFP) – Manchester United beat Leicester 2-1 in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday. Here AFP Sports looks at five things we learnt from the annual curtain raiser to the English top-flight season:
Pogba deal essential for United
United’s lengthy courtship of Paul Pogba appears to be reaching a successful conclusion and the France star can’t arrive soon enough on the evidence of the pedestrian efforts of Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in central midfield.
United confirmed before kick-off that Pogba had been given permission to have a medical ahead of a reported world record transfer from Juventus and it was easy to see why boss Jose Mourinho was willing to break the bank to bring the midfield dynamo back to Old Trafford four years after he moved to Italy.
Carrick was composed on the ball as ever, but had little real influence on proceedings, while Fellaini was totally miscast as a deep-lying midfielder, with his mistake for Leicester’s equaliser typical of his star-crossed time with United.
Ibrahimovic steals the spotlight
Never shy of blowing his own trumpet, Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims winning silverware in his first season at United will be a piece of cake and the serial trophy collector produced an impressive statement of intent with his late winner.
At 34, the ex-Sweden forward is in the twilight of his glittering career, but he has always had a keen eye for the spotlight and, after a generally quiet competitive debut, the former Paris Saint-Germain star underlined his value to United in the 83rd minute when he towered above hulking defender Wes Morgan to guide a superb header into the far corner.
Vardy back in the groove
Jamie Vardy says his life has been “carnage” since the end of last season as the Leicester striker comes to terms with his newfound celebrity and he looked relieved to be able to get back to focusing on football in a lively performance.
The 29-year-old carried a constant threat and equalised in typically predatory fashion in the 52nd minute when he pounced on Fellaini’s woeful backpass, rounded David de Gea and slotted into the empty net.
Vardy’s haul of 24 league goals last season fired Leicester to the title and the sight of the forward back scoring in a blue shirt following his close-season decision to snub a move to Arsenal suggests his meteoric rise isn’t over yet.