United, inspired by Paul Scholes the visionary, lay down a marker of intent
As Javier Hernandez’s made it 2-0 to Manchester United, a huge grin etched across his face; indeed that beaming smile symbolised just how convincing a performance this was from United.Yes, it was just a Community Shield fixture, but it was an insight into just how well the team can perform when they need to, made even sweeter that this victory was against the (current) reigning champions.
And it was Paul Scholes at the heart of things. Literally. Such was the perfection of his performance, that he had kept all three Chelsea midfielders quiet. Having just wrote an article explaining why Paul Scholes will be crucial to the United cause this season, he does this. Quite fittingly, it was his trademark, searching ball that led to the first goal. He controlled the game from the off, rightly awarded Man of the Match for his efforts.
Then there was Javier Hernandez and his extraordinary solo goal in which he assisted himself. As flukey as the goal was, the expectations of this player increases by the day, after an exceptional World Cup and pre-season. As he replaced a rather subdued Michael Owen at half-time, he greeted the English game with some nifty touches and nearly set up Dimitar Berbatov, expertly holding up play and bisecting the Chelsea defence with a great pass only for Berbatov to stumble as he received the ball.
Indeed, the Bulgarian had a point to prove. Having just potentially been knocked down the pecking order by Mexico’s new (and only?) footballing superstar, he superbly made it 3-1 minutes after Kalou had pulled a goal back, lobbing Hilarious Hilario to seal the game in the dying seconds. Of course, a question has to be asked. Has there ever been a more aptly-named goalkeeper than Hilario? Probably not.
Inspired by Scholes and Hernandez, this was a good performance but no means perfect. Some questions will be asked of the defence, if it had not been for a couple of terrific saves from Edwin van der Sar the scoreline could have been different. Another negative? The fact that I didn’t go to the bookies…
Ratings: Van der Sar 8; O’Shea 7, Vidic 7, Evans 6, Fabio 7; Scholes 9*, Carrick 8, Park 6, Valencia 8; Rooney 7, Owen 5; Subs: Berbatov 7, Hernandez 8, Smalling 5, Fletcher 6, Nani 7, Giggs 6