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_41953948_goalshot416.jpgChelsea 1 - 1 Manchester UnitedManchester United win 0-3 on PenaltiesFA Community Shield - 5 August - Wembley - 15:00 kick-offManchester United avenged their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final with a 3-0 win in a penalty shoot-out, following a 1-1 draw in the Community Shield.Edwin Van Der Sar was the hero for United, saving all three of Chelsea's penalty kicks whilst Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney all hit home past Petr Cech to earn United their first silverware of the season and apparently, also a psychological advantage over Chelsea in the Premier League title race.However, both Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson were quick to dismiss the importance of the Community Shield as both managers prepare their teams for their first challengers this season; Reading at Old Trafford for the Champions and Birmingham City for the FA Cup winners on Sunday.The game itself was an unfortunate repeat of the 1997 game, known back then as the Charity Shield. Chelsea had come from behind on that day, but were dispatched on penalties by United; defending Premier League Champions ahead of the 97/98 league season. Assistant Chelsea Manager Steve Clarke was quick to point out that Chelsea fans should not be disheartened following the shoot-out defeat, instead confident after we held an almost fully-fit Manchester United side for ninety minutes with a weakened team of our own.José Mourinho was also full of praise for his stars. "I couldn't be happier with this group of players, a group that was not prepared to play this game and only knew last night they would have to play in this team and with this strategy," he told Sky Sports after the defeat. Mourinho was also pleased with the attitude shown by his players, especially in Petr Cech, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Florent Malouda and Glen Johnson, who played on in the second half despite picking up minor injuries in the first half._44040409_jm_pa300.jpgMourinho was pleased with the performance of the team, and the result did not concern him even the slightest.For the game itself, Mourinho's options were strictly limited. Captain John Terry was suffering from a minor knee injury and could possibly face a week out. Didier Drogba was also missing for the FA Cup winners, along with high-profile names Claude Makelele, Michael Ballack, Arjen Robben and Andrei Shevchenko. Mourinho decided to field the same back-line that had played at some point against Brondby in mid-week. The impressive Ashley Cole started at left-back with Ben Haim and Ricardo Carvalho in the centre. To the right of Petr Cech's goal was Glen Johnson, apparently cementing his position as first-choice right-back at the moment.The midfield was recognisable from the Double-winning season of 2006/2007, with Michael Essien holding and John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard playing in front of him, supporting the front-three. Interestingly enough, new signing Claudio Pizarro was relegated to the bench with Mourinho opting to use three wide-players as his attacking spearhead. Florent Malouda started on the left with Joe Cole in the centre, with the slightly-deeper Shaun Wright-Phillips playing on the opposite flank.Manchester United were not without injury themselves, but fielded a familiar team - 8 players starting in the Community Shield had participated in the FA Cup final. Van Der Sar began in goal with Silvestre at left-back and the impressive Nemanja Vidic at centre-half alongside Rio Ferdinand. Wes Brown, the player who broke Scott Sinclair's metatarsal in May began at right-back for the Champions. O'Shea deputised for the injured Scholes alongside Carrick, Ronaldo and Evra; three players who began the FA Cup final. Up front for United was Wayne Rooney, playing in front of Ryan Giggs.Much like the FA Cup final, the game was incredibly tight with both sides determined to stay solid at the back and defend rather than play with an attack-minded mentality. However, unlike the game in May, both teams managed to find a way through before the 90 minutes was up, but still could not be separated.The game began at a promising tempo with Chelsea receiving the majority of the possession, however the Stamford Bridge side were doing relatively little with the ball. It was Ashley Cole that provided the first attacking motion of the game as he looked to get beyond Cristiano Ronaldo. The England full-back succeeded but lost the ball out wide under pressure and United were able to clear.However, the lack of a true forward first began to show when Wright-Phillips burst past Evra, before firing low into the box. Had Didier Drogba been stalking the penalty area, the outcome may have been a little different, but with just Joe Cole and Frank Lampard to aim for, United managed to clear at ease; their numerical advantage easily getting them out of trouble and the ball out of danger.As the game moved into full-swing, Wright-Phillips was looking to be the major attacking outlet for Chelsea, and was one of a very small proportion of players who looked dangerous whenever on the ball. Granted more space to run at the full-back Silvestre, Wright-Phillips fired another cross in on 18 minutes, but was too high for the figure of Joe Cole to latch on to, and Edwin Van Der Sar plucked the ball from the air gratefully.However, the first clear-cut chance fell to United; and somewhat against the tide of play. Ronaldo switched flanks after getting no joy against Ashley Cole and did well to beat Glen Johnson with pace. Pulling the ball back across the goal, the Portuguese brilliantly found the oncoming Ryan Giggs. Giggs' shot was venomous, but Petr Cech read Ronaldo's intentions well and instinctively dived into Giggs path to block the shot.United's first major opportunity seemed to spark a new lease of life in the side's midfield, and soon Ronaldo was finding more space for the Champions. He picked out Carrick who shot first-time with Cech wrong footed. Thankfully, the ball was several feet wide of the Chelsea post, but United were showing that they meant business.With twenty-six minutes on the clock, by far the clearest opportunity thus far revealed itself. Wright-Phillips won a freekick after Silvestre tugged his shirt, and the pacey, whipped cross from Malouda found the head of Michael Essien. Leaping majestically, the tall African glanced the ball to the far post where John Obi Mikel was lying in wait, but the ball skimmed his head and rolled out of play for a goal-kick.It was a reminder to the Champions that Chelsea have more than one string, also known as Didier Drogba, to their bow.As the temperature soared to 37 degrees pitch-side, the tempo of the game increased as both sides began to probe at the other's defence. Ronaldo was getting the trickery out, but the Chelsea faithful took great enjoyment when he fluffed a simple pass after a neat turn beat Mikel in the centre of the park.However, moments later Ronaldo was back on the ball and running at the full-backs. Johnson was beaten for pace, but the low cross was beaten away first by Cech, then out of danger by Carvalho who broke free from defence. His long, hopeful punt forward found nothing but the bi-line as the ball rolled out of play. Another possible attacking opportunity came just seconds later as Van Der Sar's goalkick found Ben Haim. The Israeli headed to find Malouda in space, and the Frenchman's stinging shot from all of 32 yards had the defence beaten, but Van Der Sar read the shot well and found it stuck in his midriff.On thirty-two minutes, Ben Haim received the first of probably many yellow cards in a Chelsea jersey. This time, the Blues number 22 found himself in the referee's notebook for a foul on Wayne Rooney when the England striker was in full flow.Memories of Israel vs. England came flooding back to the crowd as Rooney and Ben Haim squared up to each other.For the resulting free-kick, Cristiano Ronaldo came forward. After several minutes of mental calculations, the anti-climatic strike did not even trouble Petr Cech, instead bouncing off of Ben Haim.With the Chelsea defence dispersed, United capitalised. Evra took down a brilliant pass from Vidic fantastically, and found Ronaldo. Cutting to the inside of Johnson, he pulled back to Evra. The Frenchman's cross was steered into the goal by Ryan Giggs from nine yards. The Chelsea defence was breached.Chelsea worked hard to retain possession for the close of the first-half, and their confident passing around paid off. With the United line high, expecting Chelsea to continue passing short, Ashley Cole's delightful outside-of-the-boot pass over the backline found Malouda. The winger headed the ball pas Ferdinand, who held onto Malouda as he darted into the penalty area. Showing sublime strength, he managed to poke the ball into the net from a tight angle as he was falling from Ferdinand's challenge. The ball nestled in the back of the net, and even if had not, Chelsea would surely have surely been handed a spot-kick.The second half was incredibly close, and Cech had to eb at his best to beat away stinging shots from Ronaldo and Giggs.Neither side could prevent the penalty-shootout, however, and United claimed the Community Shield as Edwin Van Der Sar saved from Pizarro, Lampard and Wright-Phillips.Squads and RatingsChelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Johnson (Sidwell 77), Ben-Haim, Carvalho, A Cole (Diarra 67); Mikel, Essien, Lampard ©; Wright-Phillips, J Cole (Sinclair 81), Malouda (Pizarro 51).Goals Malouda 44Booked Ben-Haim, Carvalho, MikelManchester United (4-4-1-1): Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Silvestre (Nani 67); Ronaldo, Carrick, O' Shea; Evra; Giggs © (Fletcher 80); Rooney.Goals Giggs 34; Ferdinand, Carrick, Rooney (Penalty Shoot-out)Booked RooneyChelsea RatingsCech - 7 - Was very sharp, made an excellent save from Giggs early on and a brilliant save from Ronaldo. Could do nothing about the penalties.Ben Haim - 6 - Whilst most of United's attacking play was down the wings, he was solid when called into action.Carvalho - 7 - Carvalho lead from the back, and marshalled the defence well in Terry's absence.Johnson - 6 - Whilst he made several good tackles and played well on the flank, he played United onside too many times.A. Cole - 8 - Ashley Cole is looking very sharp. Brilliant pass to set-up Malouda's goal. Was named Man of the Match.Diarra - 6 - Looked confident on the ball.Lampard - 6 - Not as involved as he was against Brondby, he and Mikel were heavily outnumbered in midfield and had few passing options.Mikel - 6 - His fitness is back, and was unlucky not to get himself on the score sheet. Not the greatest game of his.Essien - 7 - Whilst he was not as effective going forward, he was brilliant screening the defence and superb when played at left-back.Sidwell - 6 - Only had 13 minutes to settle, but made little impact.Joe Cole - 7 - An unorthodox centre-forward, but Joe tried his hardest and had a few good chances.Malouda - 8 - Brilliant performance, debut goal that was incredibly well-taken. More to come from him.Wright-Phillips - 7 - Played to best of his ability in the heat. Gave the ball away too often, however. Woeful penalty.Pizarro - 6 - He gave the team someone to aim for, but had no joy against Vidic.Sinclair - 6 - Tried his best and took the full-back on whenever he could.Referee - 5/10 - Fair game, although should have sent Rooney off.Chelsea - Stats - Manchester United1 - Goals - 14 - Shots on Target - 66 - Shots off Target - 72 - Blocked Shots - 34 - Corners - 515 - Fouls - 193 - Offsides - 23 - Yellow Cards - 10 - Red Cards - 0 51% - Possession - 49% Star Man430514_MEDIUMSQUARE.jpgFlorent MaloudaViews of the Blues
Considering the injuries right before the game I think we can all be happy with the result and the performance in this game. We did well and could have won the game. It was always going to be very, very hard to create chances with 3 small wingers up front. One problem for me is still our lack of urgency. Slow in attack, we need to break fast and catch teams on the break and not give them a chance to get back. And also when the other team has the ball, not urgency to close them down. If you compare the FA Cup final and the CS then you will see what I mean.
I think we did not have the best of Pre-seasons. Sure, we won the majority of them and put in a couple of good performances, but we looked really rusty against some teams who were very mediocre. But the players needed to adapt to playing a new system, which for some was a change as they had not adapted to the 4-3-3 system which Chelsea use. But whilst we played mediocre teams, we were setting too high an expectation upon the players after coming from a well-deserved rest after a very long season. Whilst it will do the new arrivals a world of good honing their skills against half-decent teams, we needed to play a weak team to score a hat-full of goals - victories give great heart to players, but when we beat teams but 4, 5 maybe six or more goals, it gives players a huge lift, especially for those who score in the games. It acts as a massive morale booster to the players, and the Special One has the luxury of seeing which players are performing better in whatever position.In my own opinion, if we had played perhaps one more pre-season game against a weaker team from the UK at Stamford Bridge, in front of a capacity crowd to give the players some encouragement, it would have done the team a world of good. In addition, the amount of travelling completely destroyed the players' internal clock. Jetlag is a right pain-in-the-backside, and you could see that in the first half of the games in the European leg of our pre-season that the players looked quite sheepish. If we had played our games in England, I am quite confident the majority of the squad would have played at a higher level of skill and shown just a little more of their quality in the games.But - to the Community Shield game itself. I think the performance was neither a disgrace nor a brilliant one. It was borderline; average. Some plays had an excellent game. I thought that Ashley Cole, Michael Essien, Florent Malouda and at times Wright-Phillips and Mikel, all played very well and played to the best their ability and fitness would allow. Ashley Cole in particular, was fantastic at marshalling Ronaldo, and Petr Cech was good when called into action. For Manchester United, there were no exceptional performances, although Giggs was exciting when on the ball and Rooney, Ronaldo and Nani provided the crowd with some much needed trickery at points in the game. Michael Carrick was quietly effective - United mirrored out formation in the second half which gave Chelsea more room in the midfield as the numbers were evened up, but Carrick played well in the same position Claude Makelele was missed badly.The game was a very close encounter and penalties was not a fair way to decide the match, in my opinion. I think Chelsea were perhaps just a little better than United in the first half, as Malouda and Wright-Phillips were tearing their full-backs to shreds. But the lack of a striker up front in the first period proved our undoing, in my opinion.By playing Pizarro, or even Drogba or Shevchenko if they were fit, we would have a target man up front who can bring the ball down and give the wingers more space as the central-defenders are busy trying to keep the striker 'occupied,' but Cole who was playing essentially as a striker drifted to the flank far too much and pretty much gave the wingers and full-backs only Lampard and Mikel to aim for in the United penalty area. We controlled the first-half and were keeping possession. However, we were doing very little with it and our best chance came from a pot-shot by Malouda which was aimed straight at Van Der Sar. Then, in my opinion, against the run of play, United hit home. Vidic's pass to Evra was magnificent, however, if Johnson had pulled forward Evra would have been offside. Johnson played the United forwards onside on several occasions, and was punished when we conceded the goal. Evra's pullback to Giggs was sublime and the finish was a brilliant one. There was really little Cech could do in my opinion - although Ashley Cole was about an inch away from getting his head to the ball.Before that we really should have took the lead. Essien's flick-on was superb and Mikel was millimetres from giving it the glancing touch the ball required to fly into the back of the net to put us one to the good. If only Drogba or John Terry were fit and in that same place!Then came Malouda's goal. Ashley Cole's pass up field on the outside of the left boot was absolutely fantastic, and the way Malouda took it past Ferdinand was brilliant. I think with a few games experience of Premier League tempo, Ferdinand would have won that aerial battle nine times in ten, but Malouda's clever header took him around the player and the finish was excellent. How on Earth he scored from such an acute angle whilst falling! But I think the goal was deserved and although the scoreline disagreed, I think punctuated our dominance in the first half.Second half, the tempo died down completely! The heat was intense, and at one point reached 41 degrees Celsius, which is nowhere near ideal for playing football. Ronaldo got the trickery out, but still I think we were the better team. We created a couple of chances, and Pizarro had a decent effort. Wright-Phillips was guilty of losing the ball after successfully taking on the full-backs far too often, but as his fitness improves, so will his form - of which I am confident will increase as he will play a more-involved role.Cech made a couple of routine catches and a few decent stops, especially from Ronaldo who shot from close range. Carvalho was dominant in the defence and whilst it was not as well marshalled as when it is under the command of a certain Mr. Terry, he did well to hold the line.Essien was, in a word - exceptional. Brilliant in the midfield, he filled in at left-back and was absolutely brilliant. All Ronaldo got off him was a 'friendly' knock off the ball from the Ghanaian. He showed so much last season, but I think he has so much more to give in return. His class is pedigree and is one of, if not, the best players in the world in his midfield position. He's not so bad at centre-half or in either full-back position, either.And so, the penalties came. You would have thought that after the pain of exiting the Champions league semi-finals on penalties that we would show a bit more courage. But it takes the heart of a lion to take a penalty in a shootout, and we should all be proud of Claudio, Frank and Shaun. Whilst Lampard's and Wright-Phillips' kicks weren't so good, Pizarro's was excellent and nine times in ten that finds the back of the net. But credit to Van Der Sar, he did fantastically to get to all three-penalties and whilst looking shaky in the ninety, he was a giant in the penalty shootout.We lost - but we shouldn't be ashamed. The players gave as good as they could, and whilst it is a nice piece of silverware to win, the Community Shield realistically equates to sweet F.A.! Whilst people say that winning the trophy gives you a psychological advantage over the opponent, we saw that from last season and Liverpool winning the trophy, it does very little at all to boost a team's confidence.As José Mourinho correctly states, the Community Shield is simply a friendly game that should be used to give players confidence and match fitness. All it basically is a friendly against stronger opposition, and fair play to United - credit where credit is due, after all.But don't be disheartened - if anything, this game will act as the kick up the backside that we needed going in to the new league season. Expect us to come out all guns blazing.
SWP definitely man of the match for me. Put so much effort in .Johnson was interesting that nearly own goal though Jesus Christ.On the plus side Man you only scored one goal and they had an actual striker unlike us so there you go hehe, Rooney and his shots, getting ready for the England gamesBring on next Sunday with luck a better result

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