In the usual curtain-raiser for the season ahead, Premier League winners Manchester United took on Wigan Athletic at Wembley. Two goals from Robin van Persie in either half handed the Red’s the win.
Community Shield – Sunday 11th August
Wembley Stadium, London
MAN UNITED 2-0 WIGAN
United lined-up with last season’s top scorer Robin van Persie leading the line, with the service being provided by Danny Welbeck and new signing Wilfried Zaha. Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley completed the midfield trio.
As for FA Cup winners Wigan, they had a side largely made up of new signings, with Scott Carson, Stephen Crainey, James Perch, Grant Holt and James McClean all amongst the new additions to begin the game from the off.
It seemed a somewhat uneventful start to the game, but that all changed in the 6th minute, as Van Persie rose above his marker to head home the opening goal, after a gently flighted cross from Patrice Evra. It was a goal out of nowhere, but it was superbly guided into the bottom corner by the Dutchman.
United were forced into an early change in the 15th minute, as Rafael hobbled off and was replaced by defender Chris Smalling. It meant that Phil Jones reverted to right-back and Smalling took up his place alongside Vidic at the heart of the defence.
After that early goal, you would have thought it would have sparked the game into life, but it didn’t exactly pan out that way and most of the first half consisted of keeping possession, which United were significantly better at.
Wigan had their moment in the 34th minute, James McClean got in behind after Chris Smalling misjudged the bounce of the ball, the new signing then flashed a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal. A let-off for Smalling and United.
Shortly after, United created a really good chance to double their lead, Cleverley fed Welbeck just inside the area, who swivelled and fired a shot goalwards, which was beaten away by Carson.
Owen Coyle’s men had an excellent opportunity to level the score on the stroke of half-time, Emmerson Boyce headed a free-kick back across goal and Leon Barnett just couldn’t manage to guide the ball goalwards, much to United’s relief.
Half-time came and United maintained their lead through that early goal from Van Persie. The Red’s had been pretty comfortable throughout the first period, but Wigan were still very much in the game at 1-0.
Wigan started the second half relatively positively and began to disrupt United’s rhythm in midfield. They also began to use the ball more effectively and began to get in behind the United back-line.
Just as Wigan were beginning to have a bit of joy in the game, United doubled their lead. A good passage involving Evra, Cleverley and Welbeck resulted in Van Persie finding space outside the box, he hit a shot towards goal which took a deflection of Perch and ended up going in at the near post.
Both sides then rang the changes as. Wigan substitutes Fortune, McCann and McManaman came on for McClean, Holt and McArthur. United brought on Antonio Valencia to replace Wilfried Zaha, who appeared to have suffered an injury. Ryan Giggs then made way for Anderson. Maloney and Watson were substituted for Espinoza and Jordi Gomez, as the game looked to have died down a bit.
For the remaining stages of the game, you really couldn’t see another goal coming, but if there was to be, United were the more likely to score the final goal of the contest. Kagawa and Januzaj were both brought on for United at the expense of Welbeck and van Persie, who was denied a hat-trick.
United were now keeping the ball pretty well, but at 2-0 up they were rather content with knocking the ball around patiently, as opposed to desperately looking for that third goal.
The game finished 2-0 and United deservedly claimed the Community Shield.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Tom Cleverley – An assured display in midfield.
Manchester United – De Gea; Rafael (Smalling), Vidic, Jones, Evra; Zaha (Valencia), Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs (Anderson); Van Persie (Januzaj), Welbeck (Kagawa).
Wigan Athletic – Carson, Boyce, Barnett, Perch, Crainey, Watson (Jordi Gomez), McArthur (Espinoza), McCarthy (Dicko), McClean (McManaman), Holt (Fortune), Maloney.
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