City pip Chelsea to Community Shield in five goal thriller
The Champions of England defeated the Champions of Europe in a five goal thriller in the annual Premier-League curtain raiser.
With the majority of the country focused on London, it was at Villa Park where the first taste of real football was on offer. It was the Premier-League Champions City who had the better of the early play, with Chelsea playing the back to the wall style that saw them overcome European opponents last season.
The typical Italian tactics employed by Roberto Di Matteo seemed to be working as Chelsea broke through Ashley Cole on the left, who’s cross was diverted into the path of the energetic Ramires who jinked his way into the area before playing in the born again Fernando Torres who clipped the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to put Chelsea into the lead.
Chelsea’s ecstasy was short lived as Branislav Ivanovic was shown a straight red card for a poor tackle on Aleksandar Kolorov, swinging the game right back into City’s favour. The start of the second half saw City turn on the style with an attacking display of football that put the game beyond a Chelsea side with the new signings that City manager Roberto Mancini desperately craves.
A mistake by Chelsea skipper John Terry allowed Yaya Toure the opportunity to slam the ball past Petr Cech, with part time golf caddy Carlos Tevez putting City into the lead with a curling strike.
Samir Nasri then looked to put the game beyond doubt as his outstretched leg met Kolorov’s cut back to double City’s lead.
Chelsea may have been down, but they certainly were not out, new boy Eden Hazard was replaced by Ryan Bertrand, while Team GB striker Daniel Sturridge replaced Juan Mata, and when Sturridge’s shot was spilled by City ‘keeper Pantilimon, it was the youngster Bertrand who was on hand to set up a tense finale.
City however held on to claim victory and the Community Shield trophy that they missed out on last season to rivals Manchester United. New signings may still stregthen City, but if they can continue the type of football they produced to blow Chelsea away in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, they will be a very difficult team to beat next season.
For Di Matteo and Chelsea, owner Abramovich may be seeking for his side to dominate the game with the attacking players he has spent vast amounts of money on acquiring. It may take a few weeks for Chelsea’s side to come together but on today’s evidence, that is a long way off.
Dean Mears, sports editor