Although we lost two nil, I do not believe that we played terribly in the Community Shield yesterday. Especially since our opponents were the champions of England and have arguably the best player in the premier league in Robin Van Persie. The game itself was not as competitive as I thought it would be and I felt that we did not start at all well (a combination of nerves and not wanting to get injured could have contributed to this).
The fact that we did not start well ultimately led to Manchester United's first goal in the seventh minute of the game. Patrice Evra was given too much time on the left side of the pitch and put an accurate ball in to the box, which the unmarked Van Persie directed into the left hand side of Scott Carson's goal. A goal that was completely avoidable. Stephen Crainey should have been closer to Van Persie and someone should have been out to Evra sooner. After this goal the rest of the first half played out with United largely dominating. However, we did have a couple of chances to put pressure on United's goal. James McClean and Ben Watson both had free kicks in decent areas which we did not take advantage of. McClean put a low, hard hit cross into the box which no-one could connect to and he also floated a ball into the box which neither James McCarthur nor Grant Holt could touch. In fact, it seemed as though James McClean was at the centre of everything good about the first half of the game. I was impressed by his crossing ability and his pace and his ability to take on a man and actually beat him (something which Jean Beausejour is unable to do well).
The second half began differently to the way the first half ended and we were dominating the game for the first time. Every time a pass was made by a Wigan player it was met by an 8,000 strong shout of 'WAY'! and this continued for about ten minutes. This was the ideal time to score as we were on top in a game in which United had been the better side. But the goal just wouldn't come and a few mistakes by our players led to United getting back in to the game. And when United are given a chance to score in a game they usually take it. This chance came in the form of a scuffed shot from Robin Van Persie (who else?). This scuffed shot was heading straight for the arms of Carson until James Perch stuck out his left leg. The ball hit Perch's leg and deflected to the side of the Wigan goalkeeper who could only hang his head as he realised that a second United goal had gone in. This being the fifty ninth minute there was plenty of time for us to put pressure on United and just go for it but this didn't seem to be Coyle's tactic. He made several substitutes and, in my opinion, the game was just played out until the end. The game turned into a friendly where players were given a chance to show what they are capable of doing across the rest of the season. And from this performance, I am optimistic.
James Perch seemed absolutely comfortable playing against a premier league side and, of course, so did Boyce. Our midfield is effectively a premier league midfield after all although McCarthur, McCarthy, Maloney, and McManaman didn't really show what they are capable of yesterday. Holt is brilliant at holding the ball up and if he can cause players like Vidic problems then he will excel this year.
Overall, a decent performance by Wigan but I just wanted them to go for it a little bit more and let themselves play freely (similar to the way they did in the FA Cup final). Lot of positives and no real cause for concern.
Come on you blues!