After sampling the delights of Canada, America, Mexico and Ireland, its back to dreary old London for the Community Shield this Sunday as we take on our rivals, Chelsea, for the 2010 Community Shield, in the last friendly before the season starts proper next weekend.
The key to success on Sunday could lie down the flanks and our Portuguese winger, Nani, is relishing the chance to return to the stage where he opened his United account for last season.
Speaking about facing Chelsea he had this to say on the eve of the game,
“Everybody is excited with me because they didn`t know if I could be the player everyone expected.”
“People doubted my quality when I arrived from Sporting Lisbon but perhaps my performances against Chelsea have been my answer to those people – my personal revenge if you like.”
“Chelsea are exciting opposition for me. I`ve played some good matches against them and also scored in the Community Shield last season.”
“So to begin the season against them again with the chance of winning a trophy is terrific.”
Chelsesa Team News:
Chelsea enter the fixture with their squad in a similar state to ours. The London club also have a raft of players back from World Cup duty who are not fully match fit and who will probably be using the Wembley fixture to edge close to that goal.
The current Champions of England and FA Cup holders (god that hurts to type that) are without the injured Petr Cech, Alex and Jose Bosingwa and their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has taken the unusual step of naming his starting eleven two days before the game.
Chelsea will line up as follows –
Hilario, Ferreira, Terry, Ivanovic, A.Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Essien, Kalou, Anelka, Malouda.
We understand Didier Drogba, who recently had surgery on a groin problem, will be on the bench.
Player to watch: Nicolas Anelka
It`s interesting to see that the original preparatory of the French fracas is include din the Chelsea side whilst Patrice Evra, who gave Anelka such support, has only just returned to full training. He may be getting on in years but Anelka can still change a game in an instant with a smart finish.
United Team News:
Sir Alex has had to alter his plans slightly. After declaring that he wouldn`t be using his World Cup stars the realisation seems to have hit home that they need valuable match practise and this is the ideal stage for them to get just that.
Not available for selection are long term injury victims Rio Ferdinand, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson whilst Michael Carrick is not available after picking up an injury in Dublin joining Gabriel Obertan on the list of those injured in pre season.
Also not available is Patrice Evra who was given extended leave after the World Cup whilst the Silva twins are not available after picking up a bout of food poising recently.
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney
The lad had such a dismal World Cup and being pictured urinating in the street and having a fag on the go may just be the incentive Wayne needs to get his act together and get United off to a winning start in England.
Match Facts & Stats
Last season the same two clubs feature din this fixture and we managed t throw away our chance of taking the shield back to Old Trafford after losing in a penalty shoot-out. Mind you I`d rather do it in the Community Shield than in Moscow wouldn`t you?
The two League fixtures last season saw Chelsea take advantage of some poor refereeing decisions to beat us on both occasions, results that, in the end, tipped the title in their favour.
I`m not sure if Wembley is the place to take our revenge, I`d prefer to save that until next May when, once again, we lift the Premier League crown.
Mr Marriner will take charge I believe.
It`s noticeable that Chelsea have lost three on the trot in pre-season and have been shipping goals they wouldn`t normally do. They appear to have stand-in keepers that are prone to error and I`ve a feeling Wembley will provide the perfect stage for us to embarrass the current Champions and the key to success could be down the left flank where Ancelotti is fielding Ferreira instead of the player the professionals voted as the divisions best, Ivanovic. Perfect for Nani we think to wreak havoc. United will win 3-1!
We start the 2010 / 2011 Premier League campaign with a home fixture against newly promoted Newcastle United a week on Monday.