We might have a new manager, chief exec and first team coaching set up, but some things don’t change: Van Persie grabbed an early goal; Vidic and Grant Hart had a bit of a pushing match; Rafael limped off before half-time. Oh, and United eased past an ordinary Wigan side to secure the first silverware of the Moyes era.
Glorified pre-season friendly it may be, but David Moyes went into the Community Shield with something to prove. With much of the media and, sadly, some elements of the United support seemingly under the impression that a new manager has to start his playing staff from scratch, such is the hype around the need to sign somebody before the start of the season, the current league champions, bolstered by the addition of the hugely talented Wilfred Zaha, went out and did what they do best – won a football match my
Ultimately, however much is talked about the changes at United this summer, what came across most today was how much had remained the same. Giggs strode imperiously around the pitch for an hour. Carrick dictated the flow of the game with the metronomic regularity he displayed all of last season, something wisely appreciated by Geoff Hurst who picked him as official man of the match, despite the inevitable claims of Robin Van Persie whose brace of goals took United to a routine victory. The first had RVP’s class stamped all over it, a precise header from the back of the penalty area that fell neatly inside the far post to give United the lead after only six minutes. His second was more scruffy, a heavy deflection early in the second half taking his speculative shot into the Wigan goal.
But then Robin’s a striker who knows that, from a shot into the box, anything can happen. Something our opponents – securing their place in this match after conquering city in May, having demolished Moyes’ old club on their way to Wembley success – pretty much failed to do for the duration fo the match. Although Wigan enjoyed a brief period of pressure before half-time, De Gea must have entertained thoughts of dragging a deckchair out into the Wembley sunshine. For the rest of the game, United played as we had for much of last season, doing whatever was required to ease past the opposition, no frills necessary Only the exuberant Zaha appeared inclined, understandably, to wish to catch the eye, and he indulged in enough exhibitionist stuff to drag the Wigan defenders out of position on occasions, though rather more of it than the occasion demanded. For his team mates, it was all about doing the job and they did it with ease.
Beating Wigan doesn’t, of course, tell us anything at all about how well United will cope with the challenge of defending our Premiership trophy. With Chelsea, city and Liverpool to come early in the new season, far more meaningful tests lie not too far into the future. But we shouldn’t forget that there was pressure on this match for Moyes: anything less than a convincing victory and the press and some of the tiresome doom merchants who’ve made themselves heard among United’s support would have had a field day. In the circumstances, United’s new manager neither over-reacted to the pressure nor let the occasion get to him. He sent his team of winners out to win a trophy in exactly the way Sir Alex would have done, and we couldn’t have asked for anything better than that.