Javier Hernandez scored a clumsy debut goal Sunday as Manchester
United beat Chelsea 3-1 in the Community Shield and left the
defending Premier League champion looking vulnerable a week before
its title defense begins.
While United looked clinical in the traditional curtain raiser
to the season, a lethargic Chelsea side was consigned to its fourth
straight preseason loss on its return to Wembley – where it won the
FA Cup title in May – and only managed a late consolation goal from
United lost both league encounters with Chelsea last season
after being beaten in the Community Shield.
Encouragingly for United’s prospects of preventing another
season of Chelsea domination, Hernandez – the speedy Mexican signed
from Chivas Guadalajara – looked lively when he came on at
halftime, even though his 76th-minute goal was anything but
The striker stumbled as he met Antonio Valencia’s cross, kicking
the ball onto his own face before it drifted into the net for
United’s second, coming either side of goals from Valencia and
”It’s unbelievable to score and win this match – it’s an
unusual goal,” the 22-year-old Hernandez said.
United manager Alex Ferguson said he thinks the signing of
Hernandez for 7 million pounds ($11 million) will turn out to be a
”He is certainly different to what we’ve got,” Ferguson said.
”He was so quick to get there (for the goal), his speed took him
past the ball, he’ll take that all the time.”
By the time Hernandez came on to make his competitive debut,
United was leading 1-0.
Valencia scored four minutes before the break after racing onto
Wayne Rooney’s precise, low cross. Rooney displayed quick thinking
on the right flank under pressure from John Terry after meeting a
lofted crossfield ball from the 35-year-old Paul Scholes, who
controlled the midfield and showed watching England coach Fabio
Capello what he was missing at the World Cup.
”This time last season, he’s saying to himself, ‘This is my
last season,”’ Ferguson said. ”It came across my mind also,
simply because he’s had a lot of injuries in his career. He keeps
coming back – it’s not easy to do that. It’s a phenomenon.”
After Hernandez had given United a two-goal cushion, Kalou
pulled one back in the 83rd, meeting the rebound after Edwin van
der Sar parried Daniel Sturridge’s shot.
But Dimitar Berbatov rounded off the win in stoppage time by
lobbing Chelsea goalkeeper Henrique Hilario – a deft goal Ferguson
hopes will help to end the ”harsh criticism” of the club’s record
”It was important for Dimitar to score, he’s been under a lot
of pressure,” defender Nemanja Vidic added. ”But I think he’ll
score more this season.”
It is the third time in four years United has won the Community
Shield. Last August, United was beaten in the same game by Chelsea,
which went on to end the Manchester side’s three-year grip on the
Premier League trophy.
United, whose league campaign opens against Newcastle on Aug.
16, was limited to winning the League Cup last season, but resisted
a major overhaul of the squad. The only players to join the team
were Hernandez and 20-year-old defender Chris Smalling from Fulham,
although Ferguson was boosted Sunday by the return of striker
Michael Owen, whose hamstring injury has prevented him from playing
in a competitive match since the Leauge Cup final in February.
Like Ferguson, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti resisted making
many changes to his squad and didn’t deploy new recruit Yossi
Benayoun until the 73rd, although the midfielder helped to inspire
a brief fightback.
Chelsea was thwarted several times by goalkeeper Edwin van der
Sar, who may be entering his final season, but is no less agile at
39. The Dutchman did well to turn Branislav Ivanovic’s header clear
in the first half and dive to block Sturridge’s shot from a tight
angle in the 70th.
Ancelotti said there needs to be a big improvement before
Chelsea hosts West Bromwich Albion in the season opener on
”It’s not been a good preseason, we have lost four games,” the
Italian said. ”We played too slow in the first half – it was not
our best day but this is normal, it can happen at the start of the
”It’s impossible for some players to be fit and quick after 10
days of preseason. Players who came back from their (post-World
Cup) holidays on July 26 need to improve their condition.”