Monday, August 12, 2013

The Song Remains the Same: Manchester United 2 - Wigan 0

photo by sanbeijivia PhotoRee

The manager may have changed, but the result remained the same: Manchester United picked up yet another piece of hardware on Sunday, earning the first trophy of the David Moyes era by defeating Wigan 2-0 in the Community Shield. Played in front of a largely pro-United crowd at London's Wembley Stadium on a sunny late-August afternoon, the Red Devils rode Robin Van Persie's twin strikes, bookended by the half, to a wholly expected victory over their recently relegated opponents.

With the background of the club's riff with wantaway striker Wayne Rooney still simmering along, it didn't take long for Van Persie to remind the Red Devil faithful of who now holds the title of top dog, heading Patrice Evra's cross beyond the reach of Wigan goalkeeper Scott Carson to hand United a 1-0 lead within six minutes of the opening whistle. It was the perfect start for the Flying Dutchman, who began the move by spreading the ball out wide to the Red's left back before executing the finishing blow himself.

Wilfried Zaha looked lively as the United midfield bossed the game early on, although the Mancunians' early joy was momentarily dimmed when Rafael was forced off through injury after only 15 minutes. Gradually, Wigan began to press the ball a bit higher up the pitch and United slowed their tempo; the result, unsurprisingly, was the air going out of the attacking play and the crowd growing ever more hushed, impatient for more a bit more excitement on their big day out.

James McClean fizzed the ball along the goal mouth after beating Chris Smalling in the box, but the Wigan midfielder's effort came to naught when no one in blue and white was available to change the direction and tap the ball in. Danny Welbeck's curling effort from just inside the box was parried away by Carson at the other end, but it was the Latics who were beginning to make a greater impression by the time Referee Mark Clattenburg blew the half time whistle.

The pro-United crowd urged their team on as the game drifted toward the hour mark, with Manager David Moyes stalking the sideline and demanding greater effort from his charges. The anticipated result came even sooner than expected: Van Persie adding his second of the afternoon, the ball deflecting off James Perch's foot to alter its arc and leave Carson grasping at nothing more than thin air.

Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Janusjaz both got a runout as the game clock wore down, but the scoreline refused to budge. In the end, the Reds had too much attacking talent for their overmatched opponent -- even if the day's entire output was produced solely through the left foot of a certain Dutchman.

This is farlieonfootie declaring normal service resumed on August 12.

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