What the English Charity Shield tells us
Manchester City, in an emphatic manner, started this season where they left off, with a trophy in the bag.
They beat the FA Cup winners, Chelsea, by three goals to two to usher in this new season. Some might say this is not an important game due to the fact that no points are won or lost yet that but I beg to differ. This game tells us plenty.
This game is an appetiser of the main dish that awaits the football world.
Manchester City is going to be a force to reckon with. From the onset of the game, the Yaya Toure-led team took control. They are better organised than last season, they have a better co-ordinated style of ball recuperation and they pressurised the opponent of the day, Chelsea, better.
The manager, Roberto Mancini, has just been rewarded with a new five-year contract, looks more confident and has reinforced his team with new players. From what we saw, they need not buy more. They just need better management of what they have, which is plenty.
Carlos Tevez looks more settled and seems to be trying to prove that he wants to stay in the club, unlike last season when his body language said the opposite. With Mario Ballotelli back with more self confidence from the Euros, coupled with David Silva (should he stay), Manchester City are going to have a lethal attack this season.
However, the Savic/Kompany central defense seemed shaky to me and there are sure signs that Manchester City could struggle defensively this season. Conceding two goals through sheer clumsiness could be expensive, especially when they travel for away games.
Chelsea could be much worse than last season.
After a disastrous debut during the last campaign, Chelsea rose, became united behind the new manager, Roberto di Mateo, and Didier Drogba, to experience the best season of the club’s history.
Today Drogba is gone and there is Eden hazard (the new Belgian sensation). Chelsea looked out of sorts. They lacked creativity, were late to the ball, seemed disorganised and lacked co-ordination in defense and in the midfield.
The biggest worry is that they no longer have Drogba, who permitted them to just lay back and defend as a block and eventually move the ball forwards for Drogba to spring the surprise and change the game. This could explain why Chelsea is in pursuit of Porto’s Hulk to fill this vacuum left by Drogba’s exit. That, I feel, will be a difficult task to achieve.
Chelsea’s new recruit (the talented Hazard) is a playmaker but he might struggle due to the fact that he will be played out of place, on the wings, whereas he is more productive in a more central role, which Frank Lampard occupies.
We should expect a mentally weaker Chelsea team. Ivanovic’s sending off in a game like this further supports this fact. It is no secret that the majority of the Chelsea team last season, loathed the then manager Villas-Boas. All rallied together to prove the common enemy wrong once he was sacked. This season they have to find another motivation and I do not see them finding it soon.
We felt the boos aimed at John Terry yesterday each time he touched the ball. This will get louder as the season progresses. I am curious to see how he handles it.
In as much as this game is quite revealing of where these two clubs stand now, note must be taken that Manchester City looked out of sorts at this same stage last season when they lost to Manchester United but still came up at the end to win the premier league.
I guess that is why football is so beautiful, you must have said.
My dear football lovers, welcome to the 2012/2013 Premier League season.