By Adam Hicks.
1. Team spirit: A great positive for Sir Alex and the fans was the togetherness of the team, aside from the usual grit and determination to come from behind and win, there was great understanding amongst the players. United moved the ball quickly and produced some great flowing passages of play continuing the impressive displays seen during pre-season. It was a great performance from the champions without the likes of Ryan Giggs, Javier Hernandez and Darren Fletcher which will give the fans great optimism ahead of the season opener next week. Along with players such as Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all adding to their burgeoning reputations today Sir Alex will certainly have some selection related headaches this season.
2. City pose a real threat: If any United fans were under the allusion that City wouldn’t be a real threat for the title this season then today should have been enough to convince even the most stubborn of fans. There wasn’t much between the two sides over 90 minutes but United managed to scrape through. However, with City having splashed more cash bringing in the highly rated Sergio Aguero the ‘noisy neighbours’ are out to prove they can better the third place they achieved in the league last season and collect another trophy along the way.
3. Young looks at home already: Ashley Young looks to have settled immediately at Manchester United and was one of the stand out players during the game. He did the simple things well – which after moving to a big club becomes an impossible task for even the most adept players – and created United’s first goal. After winning a free kick he delivered an inch perfect cross for Smalling to tap in and spark United’s revival. The 26 year-old is versatile with great skill and ability, he will be a crucial player for Sir Alex this season.
4. De Gea has work to do yet: De Gea’s competitive debut didn’t get off to the best start, he should have done better with Dzeko’s long range effort and his reaction said it all. With a big price tag coupled with the daunting task of filling van der Sar’s gloves the young Spaniard will have to show real character to stamp his authority between the posts. Although he didn’t let the mistake get to him and produced some good saves in the second half to suggest he is strong enough to cope with the pressure of playing for Man United.
5. Glorified friendly, definitely not: There was a real competitive edge to the game with plenty of hard tackles from both teams. But this was hardly a surprise, referee Phil Dowd must have known he was in for a busy day and the game duly delivered. Seven yellow cards in all but Dowd had a good game despite some rather dubious tackles that, under the facade of the Community Shield, would have probably been worthy of a red card in the Premier League.
Side note: Anybody watching on Sky Sports would have seen the discomfort Neville took at half time in admitting United’s defence were at fault for the first goal and De Gea for the second. But the United legend was dignified in his analysis of the two goals, praising City, much to the annoyance of many fans who thought Neville’s strong allegiance to the Reds Devils would skew his judgement as a pundit.
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