The 2013 FA Community Shield was played this past Sunday between Premier League champions Manchester United and FA Cup champions Wigan Athletic. The FA Community Shield is the annual curtain raiser for English football (similar to the Super Cup played in other countries in Europe) which brings the previous seasons Premier League champion and FA Cup champion together at Wembley Stadium
While this season’s game lacked the star match-up of previous years, it offered something different. This year’s game offered a “David vs. Goliath” type match-up as Manchester United have played in six of the last seven Community Shield games and Wigan Athletic were playing as a Championship side after being relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season. This game offered Manchester United supporters to see their team in a true game with new manager David Moyes. Moyes, the former Everton head man, took over for United legend Sir Alex Ferguson after Ferguson retired following a historic 26 year run at United. Coming into the game many United supporters were skeptical about how the team would perform under Moyes compared to under Ferguson.
That being said, no one really expected Wigan to cause United too much trouble as the gap in class and talent between the two sides was very evident. United took the lead almost instantly with their first chance of the game in the 7th minute. Robin Van Persie, United and EPL leading scorer last season, spread play out wide to the left where Patrice Evra would play a delicious ball back into the path of an on-running Van Persie who brilliantly headed into the far corner past a sprawling Scott Carson. An exciting and promising opening period of the game quickly turned to concern for United on 16 minutes as right-back Rafael was forced off with an injury and replaced by Chris Smalling who can in at centre-back which pushed Phil Jones out to right-back. After the game it was determined that Rafael would be out a minimum of 4-5 weeks with a hamstring injury. The game settled down after that and both teams were relatively quiet for the remainder of the first half outside of a couple of half chances generated by United’s Danny Welbeck and Wigan’s Emmerson Boyce.
The second half maintained the same low-key type tempo as the first with United again seemingly content with just keeping possession and maintaining their 1-0 lead. United were able to snatch a second, however, just before the hour mark as Evra, Cleverley, and Welbeck helped to switch the ball from left to right for Robin Van Persie, whose shot took a wicked deflection off Wigan defender James Perch and left keeper Scott Carson with no change. Both teams then failed to make any real offense movements for the remainder of the game as United cruised to a 20th FA Charity/Community Shield.
Although Wigan did not present nearly the challenge United will face early in the season, with trips to Liverpool and Manchester City preceded by a visit to Old Trafford by Chelsea in the first 5 weeks, the Community Shield offered Moyes’ boys a chance to work together in a real game and see just how well they can play under their new boss. Although it wasn’t “vintage” United, it was a promising sign for a team looking to fend off strong challenges from Chelsea and Manchester City and regain their Premier League title for a record 21st time.
United open their season on Sunday August 18th with a tough trip to Swansea City who will be looking to improve on a 9th place finish last season. Wigan Athletic continue their Championship season on Saturday August 17th with a trip to Bournemouth (Wigan opened their season on August 3rd with a 4-0 victory over Barnsley.
Below is a link for highlights of Sunday’s 2013 FA Community Shield: