Did you know that 4 of the last 5 winners of the Community Shield went on to win the Premier League in the same season? And I’ve got a stat for you Mr. Sky Sports man – did you know that no amount of statistics make me any more likely to treat this game as anything other than a pre-season friendly?
In fairness, the fact that is was the Cottonopolis Derby and the moneybags versus the even more moneybags did make it a more interesting Community (nee Charity) Shield. As for drawing any firm conclusions from the match – could you really conclude that Nani will play like that for the rest of the season and not just up to Christmas as he pretty much did last time around? Is Edin Dzeko really going to get that level of success from all his indifferent punts towards goal
We don’t have any answers to those questions, but it was a mighty entertaining nonetheless – as this lines and numbers suggest:
Kick Off: United started the game as narrow favourites as punters wisely side that the team who enjoyed sustained success for a couple of decades are a more reliable option than the flash in the pan that is Man City
10 mins: The first few minutes are a lot shadow-boxing only a type of shadowboxing where City actually take a bit of a hiding. United’s dynamic attacking line-up get themselves into good positions and being a game of no particular consequence, even Nani looks thoroughly dangerous. In the early stages, United consolidate their position as favourites with City starting to drift. Obviously at this point, Man Utd are going to dominate British football for the next 20 years and City will never ever have the success they so desperately crave despite their billions.
30 mins: It’s a feisty little pre-season friendly and Phil Dowd has been busier than a policeman on duty in the Tottenham area over the weekend. There’s a few tasty tackles flying and Mario Balotelli and Nemanja Vidic have a coming together. Initially it looks like they might be about to bring the walls of homophobia in football tumbling down, but instead they press foreheads together kind of like two very highly paid rutting deer.
38 mins: Joleon Lescott scores for City. United are an aging team of has-beens, City are the future and Roberto Mancini is suddenly a managerial Messiah for implementing his amazingly clever rope-a-dope tactics. United drift, but as the amalgamation of all the clichés goes, Sir Alex Ferguson teams never know when they’re beaten lying down until the death, so they aren’t considered completely out of it just yet. Plus it’s only 1-0 and the City defence is looking about as solid as a Eurozone economy.
45+1 mins: Dzeko scores for City. Yes, that’s what happened – believe it or believe it not. De Gea gets credited with the assist for not really making an effort to stop it. City are the future! They’re definitely the best team in the Premier League and at this rate they should eclipse United’s haul of 19 league titles shortly by winning the next 17 Premier League titles in a row. Anything other than that would have to be classed as failure for Roberto Mancini. Good, Sir Alex is looking old right about now. I wonder if he still has the appetite for this?
Half Time: City are heavy odds on to take their third piece of silverware home from Wembley in a matter of months after their FA Cup win and that time Paul Dickov stole a dinner fork from a corporate engagement at the new Wembley. At this point, David de Gea is rubbish, Fergie paid about £15 million too much for Ashley Young and did Wayne Rooney really get a hair transplant? I hope he kept the receipt.
52 mins: Smalling scores for United. It’s all become a little too easy for City, so decide to make things a little more interesting by playing musical statues in the middle of their defence. Chris Smalling capitalises by providing a tidy finish to the delivery from Young – who’s definitely worth all that money by the way. United are back in it, but at this point you can still back them to win the game at 9/2.
58 mins: Nani scores for United. Still playing musical statues, the City defence make United look like Barcelona on speed as they get carved open from some brilliant one-touch football before Nani rounds a flailing Joe Hart to equalise. The odds on a United win tumble to around 6/4 and as no-one has any real faith in City, they assume the role of underdogs at 16/5 whilst the draw is considered the most likely outcome at around Evens.
70 mins: The City fans and the neutrals are baying to see Sergio Aguero, but like an annoyingly well-behaved child having the self-discipline not opening a present he’s been given a couple of days before his real birthday, Roberto Mancini refuses to budge. The odds on the draw are shortening as the game continues and penalties are looking more and more likely after people of a certain age realise that the days of people haring the Charity stopped several years ago. Apparently.
90 mins: Yeah, it’s going to penalties. United are 7/1 to snatch it, City are 13/1 to actually play some attacking football in an attempt to win it and the draw is essentially an inevitability. Stick the kettle on and we’ll get a get a cuppa before the penos start.
90+4 mins: Nani scores for United. And it still means so much to Sir Alex Ferguson! Oh, he stills love it alright – I said it all along. United are the best team ever and City are a shameful embarrassment to the Middle East – a lot like Syria. I’ll still have that cup of tea, mind.