Finally it’s here, Jose Mourinho’s first competitive game as Manchester United manager and the chance for him to get his first trophy under the belt. Standing in the way, last seasons Premier League champions Leicester City who themselves were looking to continue the winning momentum from last season.
The first half was a rather cagey affair with both teams still very much in pre season mode. United dominated the ball in a similar way to last season. While Leicester were taking a direct approach with long balls for Jamie Vardy to chase, an ugly but effective tactic as we all learnt last season. One notable highlight was how effective Eric Bailly was in dealing with what Leicester threw at him, he showed he has the pace and most importantly the defensive awareness to deal with the challenges of the Premier League. The breakthrough came after a nice passage of play resulting in Jesse Lingard running through the Leicester lines through on goal to put the FA Cup winners ahead. Lingard seems to like it at Wembley.
The second half began with Leicester introducing record signing Ahmed Musa to the game to liven things up for the foxes. The change certainly improved Leicester and they were soon rewarded after a catastrophic mistake from Marouane Fellaini played Jamie Vardy through on goal who rounded David De Gea to make it 1-1. A mistake that may have put Fellaini out of the starting line up for the foreseeable future. After the Leicester equaliser the game rather petered out following a host of changes from both sides. It was looking like it was going to penalties but it wasn’t time for penalties it was Zlatan time. A fantastic cross from Antonio Valencia found the head of Ibrahimovic who out jumped Wes Morgan leaving the Leicester man flat on the floor to head into the bottom corner to win the Community Shield for Manchester United. A majestic header from Ibrahimovic and lets be honest all Manchester United fans wanted him to score the winner.
Overall Jose Mourinho will be happy to have won his first competitive game in charge and to win his first trophy at the club. Mourinho will also be glad that his players were able to get more minutes under their belts ready for the Premier League kick off next weekend. It’s clear as Mourinho has said himself that it will take time for the players to play his way rather than the way of Louis van Gaal. In certain elements of play it is clear to see that the van Gaal philosophy remain but the best way to remove those elements is playing games the Jose Mourinho way and making his philosophy instinctive.
The performance of Eric Bailly was a delight. Yes, he is raw in elements of his play but his anticipation is brilliant and his pace is second to none at the back at Old Trafford. In dealing with the challenge that Jamie Vardy poses the Ivorian showed us he is up to the challenge of the Premier League and that he can be the partner for Chris Smalling at the back. A concern for Mourinho will be the performance of Wayne Rooney. Slow on the ball and sloppy in possession Rooney did nothing except break up good attacking moves for his side. This has been happening for 3 years and if ity continues Rooney should be dropped. If he isn’t going to score goals then he has to perform well and he hasn’t done either of those things to a good enough standard for a few years now.
Man of the Match: Eric Bailly