Chelsea have struck the first blow in the psychological war against Man Utd, by beating Alex Ferguson’s team on penalties yesterday in the Community Shield.
United came out of the blocks well and it took time for Chelsea to find their rhythm, but it was Ivanovic who had the first chance of scoring. His bouncing shot from close range was just cleared off the line and against the United bar.
But Man Utd soon took the lead through an excellent shot from Nani that somehow found its way between Terry and Cech, who both seemed to hesitate at the crucial moment.
But after 25 minutes or so, Chelsea came into the game and slowly asserted their authority and confidence, but didn’t summon up the equalizer until after the half-time team talk from Ancelotti. Carvalho headed in a push-out from Foster in the United goal.
Chelsea took the lead in controversial circumstances after Ballack looked to have fouled Nani, but the ref played advantage as Rooney took the ball and ran towards the Chelsea goal. But as soon as Chelsea won the ball back they were immediately in the United penalty area with three against two, and Lampard just shot too powerfully for Foster to hang onto and it bounced off the post and behind the line to put Chelsea 2-1 up.
The Blues continued to pressurize the Reds, who made four changes, including Giggs, who was making his 12th appearance in this fixture.
But it wasn’t until the 92nd minute, when United finally broke into the Chelsea half, and a lovely through ball from Giggs found Rooney who finished superbly to level the game.
United had won the last three Community Shields on penalties, so they must have been confident after forcing the shoot-out with Rooneys killer goal, but Chelsea held their nerve.
When Cech saved the first penalty from Giggs the result seemed assured. Lampard, Ballack and Drogba all cooly scoring, before Evra’s weak shot fell straight to Cech. Kalou stepped up to take the trophy with a great shot to the top right corner of the net.
Ancelotti was happy after the game and said: “It was an important start to the season because we have changed the way the team plays a bit. I’m very happy not only for this result but also for this past month,” Ancelotti said.
“I now know the players, I like their mental attitude and I like the organisation of the club.”
“We’re ready to start a very important season for us and we are ready to do our best. Now we have to continue to work and improve,” Ancelotti continued.
“We are now ready to start a very important season and want to do the best. This result is important because it proves our possibilities.”
It was a very organized and confident performance by Chelsea after their early jitters and it bodes well for the season ahead.
“United will be the most important opponent in the Premier League because they are a great team with great experience,”