FA Community Shield Analysis: 7 Players That Impressed
The FA Community Shield provided just the kind of match that the English Premier League needed to build this coming weekend's opening fixtures.
Manchester City stormed out of the gates to take a 2-0 advantage into the break, and nearly ruined my Manchester United victory prediction from last Thursday. However, the Red Devils gave their noisy neighbors a lesson in the game.
That lesson, there are two halves to any football match. You may have won the first half but we destroyed you in the second. Goals from Joleon Lescott and a belter from Edin Dzeko were cancelled out by two Nani strikes and a great free kick winning shot from young defender Chris Smalling.
With the action now three days past, I thought I would take a look back and really talk about who impressed the most in the 3-2 United victory.
January saw Manchester City splash the cash for Bundesliga goalscoring sensation Edin Dzeko. However, when the goals did not come piling on over the second half he was widely criticized as a flop.
His first goal of the season came from nearly 35 yards out as he caught Manchester United's new keeper David De Gea sleeping to put his side up 2-0 before the break.
Goals like that are why so much hype and praised was showered on his signing last season, and if he can take that form into the coming season he will do very well this campaign.
Tom Cleverly replaced Michael Carrick for the second half and again he proved he is ready for a place in this seasons Manchester United Squad.
His energy, movement and vision were excellent as his added enthusiasm helped push the midfield forward in the last 45 minutes.
In fact he played so well that he ran himself right on into the English National side in their upcoming friendly, displacing Arsenal youngster Jack Wilshere in the eyes of Fabio Capello
Adam Johnson came on with only 23 minutes left and not a lot of time to make an impact but he had one blistering shot that sent David De Gea into an upward spiral of a save that nearly planted him on his back side.
What Johnson proved is that he is worthy of a starting place for City this year, even more so that last season. He is clearly too big of a talent to be sitting on the bench, and it could possibly tempt him to want to move in the near future if he does not see his chances improve.
His main competition is still James Milner but with his fellow compatriot still believed to be a fringe choice for Mancini, Johnson could get the chance he deserves this season.
Ashley Young answered many of the pundits questions that he does not belong at the top of England's football hierarchy with his performance against City.
He played inspired down the flanks and his pace an tenacity helped to push his team forward in the second half.
A magnificently placed free kick found a wide open Chris Smalling to give the Red Devils their first goal back just minutes after the start of the second half.
Young will look to keep up his already great start to his United career.
As he starts his second full season in the English Premier League, Manchester City midfielder and winger David Silva is coming into his own as the key playmaker for the Citizens in the center of the park.
He is starting to truly bring out the class from his time in Spain with Valencia as he is becoming more accustomed to the pace and physicality of the English game.
Multiple moments of attack inspiring play made him the primary standout for City, and his brilliant free kick in the first half ended in a Joleon Lescott headed goal that put the Sky Blues up 1-0 on their rivals.
Manchester United's young defensive signing of last season proved that he can do more than just play a little defense in the Red Devils victory.
His high flying goal from Ashley Young's cross was the first stab back at City, and set the tone for the Red Devils charge back to victory.
With John O'Shea no longer in the picture and more raw talent than the Da Silva Twins Fabio and Rafael, Smalling could be the new right back for Sir Alex Ferguson this season.
Playing out of position on the right as opposed to his preferred central defensive spot could prove to be a great decision for Ferguson just as his playing Martin Kelly on the right last season proved to be for Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool.
No player had a better match than Nani. The Portuguese winger was in sensational form as he scored the goal that brought Untied level with City in the second half. It was a brilliantly placed shot from left to right past Joe Hart.
However, he was not done as a display of class, touch and creativity saw him spin the Blues defense around and slot home what would be the match winning goal that saw the Red Devils take home another Community Shield.
Nani is tipped to have a break out season for United and with this start behind him he is already well on his way.