How the media reported our win against Manchester United on Sunday at Wembley:
“Michael Ballack and Patrice Evra clash as Chelsea win Community Shield”
The Times, unsurprisingly, chose to focus on the clash between Michael Ballack and Patrice Evra in the lead up to our second goal, with Oliver Kay deciding that ‘Chelsea’s second goal, in the 71st minute, should not have stood…The problem was…in the failure of Chris Foy, the referee, to spot the challenge.’ In terms of the game itself, he fairly points out that ‘(Chelsea) were stronger for all but the opening 20 minutes of the game’, going as far as to suggest that ‘Chelsea’s claim to victory was a compelling one’. Kay chose to single out Nicolas Anelka for individual praise, saying that he was ‘the greatest beneficiary’ from our new diamond formation, proved by the fact he ‘immediately caught the eye and clearly relished the opportunity to play alongside Didier Drogba in a two-man strike force.’ This seems quite generous in its praise of Anelka, as the Frenchman, notably in the early stages, continued to drop deeper in order to get a sight of the ball, and very rarely linked up effectively with Drogba.
“Community Shield whets the appetite for the new season”
The Daily Telegraph’s match report, by Henry Winter, reads like something out of a Sky Sports promotional advert at times; see the opening paragraph: ‘No love lost. For those craving fireworks this season, Chelsea and Manchester United lit the fuse here. For those who enjoy their football spiked with bitter rivalry, tune in. For those who prefer love-ins, tune out. This Community Shield was all about good football and bad blood, stirring the pot vigorously as the Premier League hurtles back next weekend. Curtain-raising? Hair-raising more like.’ Winter was, however, especially complimentary of Chelsea’s play and general ability, saying they are ‘the main threat’ to United’s title. He singled out Ashley Cole for particular praise, and rightly so; ‘the Londoners were inspired by the lung-breaking, box-to-box brilliance of Cole. Carvalho was voted man of the match but Cole, defending and creating relentlessly, held an equal claim. When Antonio Valencia came on, Cole simply smothered him.’ Winter also highlights in his report the contrast between the game’s opening 20 or so minutes, when ‘Lampard, positioned at the tip, found his space and style cramped’ and how ‘ Drogba and Nicolas Anelka looked less than the sum of their considerable parts in attack’, with the game’s latter stages when the midfield diamond and strike duo appeared a much more coherent unit.
The Sun’s Ian McGarry, a Chelsea TV regular, concluded in his report that ‘if Ancelotti’s side can sustain this level of performance, it could yet be a vintage year for England’s Italians’, speculating whether Chelsea’s English players could win a historic treble; the Premier League, the Champions League and the World Cup. Not that he is going over the top or anything. Like many of his peers, McGarry decided to highlight the quality of Ryan Giggs’ through-ball to Wayne Rooney (‘a perfect ball’) coupled with the clinical finish; it appears that many of the country’s best journalists were too busy celebrating a decent goal by an Englishman to notice he was blatantly offside. Never mind. McGarry also attributed the successful penalty shoot-out to Carlo Ancelotti’s hard work; unlike his predecessors (culpable for the fact that ‘in recent years, Chelsea hearts have burst and heads dropped at the prospect of winning a shootout.’) ‘he selected his list of penalty takers and gave them specific instructions on what to do.’ Good work, Sir.
‘Blues hold their nerve to clinch Community Shield on penalties’The Daily Mail were pleased to report that ‘there was actually a surprising amount of needle and genuine joy among Chelsea’s ranks when Salomon Kalou converted the decisive spot-kick.’ Who knew a penalty shoot-out victory against United at Wembley could be so much fun? Remember, if you win it’s a great result and a sign of things to come, and if you lose it was just another glorified pre-season friendly which was good for the fitness levels. The double-edged sword of the Community Shield is a fine one. This victory won’t, according to Matt Lawton, ‘do anything to make up for that crushing defeat in Moscow – a defeat, as this match demonstrated, that still hurts them deeply.’ Their Man of the Match went to Wayne Rooney, presumably for his ‘delightful left-footed shot over an advancing Cech’. You know, the one that was offside. Anyway, don’t mention the war.
‘Chelsea strike first blow against Manchester United in Community Shield’
The Guardian’s Kevin McCarra dramatically described how Sunday’s game ‘had the hallmark of authenticity in the rancour that so often comes to the fore when rivals meet.’ Individual praise was reserved for Ricardo Carvalho, who returned to the first eleven having watched Alex play well for much of last season and who ‘deserved to be the beneficiary (of Foster’s flap) as the most impressive performer’. McCarra ended his piece with a dramatic prediction; having watched ‘an afternoon of small margins’, he concludes that ‘that could be the case throughout the season as these clubs are in the thick of the battle for the Premier League title.’
‘Cech heriocs earns Shield success’
ESPN Soccernet’s report was solid if unspectacular, giving a fair and simple account of the day’s events. Sir Alex Ferguson’s bitterness with Chelsea’s second goal is clearly seen by his comment that ‘the second goal was the deciding factor’ – maybe he didn’t realise the match ended 2-2 and his team missed two penalties?