Jose Mourinho won his first trophy as Manchester United boss as the Portuguese tactician led his team to a 2-1 victory over Premier League champions Leicester City in this year’s edition of the Community Shield.
As Red Devils’ fans take joy and pride in their team’s first piece of silverware in the new season, we take a look at the 5 key points in the game:
Manchester United still have a long way to go
After a couple of years in the gutter, a worldwide recognised sports brand Manchester United have set their sights on returning to the top.
Jose Mourinho’s arrival was the first sign of the things to come, while the arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and today Paul Pogba have had the fans purring.
Today’s performance against Leicester City proved however that Manchester United still have a long way to go as they appeared disconnected and disjointed in a couple of occasions on the pitch, despite their 2-1 win over Premier League champions.
Jesse Lingard opened the scoring with an impressive goal, but Maroune Fellaini’s blatant error which allowed alert Jamie Vardy an easy finish is a thing Jose Mourinho will want to avoid later in the season.
Superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic rose up to the occasion with his brilliant header which ultimately won Manchester United their first trophy of the season which is a great introduction to the Premier League season which kick offs next week.
Paul Pogba’s return a much needed boost
As Manchester United players prepared to run on to the pitch, the club confirmed the big news sounding an end to months of transfer speculations.
Paul Pogba is returning to Manchester United with medicals already in place for the French star. Pogba has been granted a permission from his club Juventus to finalise the deal with his former club and is expected to be presented at Old Trafford next week.
His return needs to be a cutting edge Manchester United are so desperately in need of. Despite heavy investments in bolstering all lines of his team, Jose Mourinho needs Pogba to connect all pieces of the puzzle together.
The Frenchman will become the most valuable player in the world and will carry a huge load of expectations on his back. He does not need plenty of time to adapt to his new surroundings as they are not new and Pogba will be expected to make an immediate impact for the club.
Are Leicester even stronger than last season?
The 2015/16 season will hardly ever be repeated. It was one of a kind feat, every football romantic’s dream and a victory of honour and valour over power. Plenty of people believed that Claudio Ranieri will struggle to keep his men together and the Italian was forced to endure some heavy blows during summer. Jamie Vardy rejected a chance to move to Arsenal, Mahrez is expected to do the same which will be a huge boost for the reigning Premier League champions.
N’Golo Kante is the only one of the key members to leave the squad, but Ranieri brought Nampalys Mendy as a direct replacement for the French dynamo, and even managed to boost his forward line having dug deep into the owner’s pocket to splash club’s record of €19.5million for Ahmed Moussa from CSKA Moscow.
The Nigeria forward is an upgrade replacement for Shinji Okazaki and his pace, stamina and strength were all display against Manchester United in the Community Shield.
Jesse Lingard going from strength to strength
The 23-year-old England midfielder Jesse Lingard has come a long way in the last couple of seasons as he had been sent away on various loans before finally earning his chance to prove his worth for the Red Devils first-team.
Lingard managed to notch 25 Premier League appearances under Louis van Gaal and many predicted that he would lose his place in the team under Jose Mourinho, most notably after Red Devils bolstered their ranks with the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
However, the player who won Manchester United the FA Cup title last season with his winning goal in extra-time has stepped it up once again proving Mourinho was right to leave former Borussia Dortmund playmaker on bench.
Lingard got his name on the score sheet with a sublime solo goal in the first half. He received a pass on the half centre line, took on four of Leicester City players before slotting home past Kasper Schmeichel.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic up to silence his critics
Powerful Swede is an impressive physical force despite being 34 and Manchester United have received a huge signing in form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Former PSG striker was an instant impact as far as marketing is concerned, while his influence in team’s play is yet to be fully confirmed.
He scored a trademark bicycle goal in his first performance for Man Utd, but he managed to turn his timid performance against Leicester City in the Community Shield into a successful one with a single touch on the ball and a sublime header he placed past Kasper Schmeichel.
Ibrahimovic is turning 35 in October and it was today obvious that Swede will have no problems coping with the demands of the Premier League.
A true character and an entertainer Premier League needs, however Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a species of his own and his temper could pose a liability for Manchester United. Ibrahimovic’s desire and determination could come under doubt when things start to go awry, but Mourinho will hope to use his personal relationship with Ibrahimovic to keep him motivated throughout the season.
Still, a tally of 38 league goals in his final year with Paris Saint-Germain where he was crowned all-time leading goal scorer will be hard to replicate.
His Community Shield goal is a great way to start the season though and to silence his critics.
LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel 6 – Simpson 6.5 (Hernandez 6), Huth 6.5 (Ulloa 6), Morgan 7, Fuchs 6.5 (Schlupp 6) – Mahrez 7, Drinkwater 7, King 6 (Mendy 6), Albrighton 6 (Gray 6) – Okazaki 6 (Musa 6.5), Vardy 7
Unused subs: Zieler.
MANCHESTER UNITED: de Gea 6.5 – Valencia 7, Bailly 7.5, Blind 7, Shaw 7 (Rojo 6) – Carrick 6.5 (Herrera 6), Fellaini 6.5 – Lingard 7.5 (Mata 6 / Mkhitaryan 6), Rooney 7 (Schneiderlin 6), Martial 6 (Rashford 6) – Ibrahimovic 7
Unused subs: Romero.
REFEREE: Craig Pawson