Manchester United vs. Leicester City (August 7, 2016) – FA Community Shield Review

The 2016-17 Premier League has begun with the annual FA Community Shield, in a battle pitting the winner of England’s top division against the winner of England’s most prestigious domestic cup competition. Following in the same vain as many of Europe’s top leagues (e.g. France’s Trophée des Champions, Italy’s Supercoppa Italia), here’s my review of today’s game between Manchester United and Leicester City.

FORMATION AND PLAYERS:

Leicester City (2015-16 Premier League winner): 4-4-2 (Schmeichel, Fuchs, Huth, Morgan, Simpson, Albrighton, King, Drinkwater, Mahrez, Vardy, Okazaki)

Manchester United (2015-16 FA Cup winner): 4-5-1 (De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw, Lingard, Carrick, Rooney, Fellaini, Martial, Ibrahimovic)

1st HALF:

Goal(s): Jesse Lingard does his best Saul Niguez impression with a blinder of a goal. Wes Morgan should’ve done a lot better and the replays showing Kasper Schmeichel’s frustration leaves a lot to be desired for a team who last year was seen as one of the best defensively.

Controversial calls/Cards: An offside call in the 22nd minute saw Jesse Lingard (I’ll probably refer to him as the guy who scored the FA Cup winner last year against Palace) offside, but I personally didn’t agree with the official on that call. A yellow card was also shown in the 39th minute on Danny Simpson for a foul on Shrek (I mean, Wayne Rooney).

Overall thoughts: Though there were times where it was a game of please dispose the ball, there were some really good moments on the defensive end from the likes of Fuchs and Bailly. Luke Shaw looks in tip top shape post Hector Moreno horror tackle, and uh, fair play to the cheeky nutmeg from Vardy on Bailly.

2nd HALF:

Goal(s): Jamie Vardy scores yet another one of his dazzling goals after a terrible giveaway from tempura-head Fellaini. On the other end, we saw an incredible cross from Antonio Valencia for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s header, making it 2-1 at the half and the final score for this match.

Controversial calls/Cards: We saw a yellow card on Andy King after a strong tackle on Jesse Lingard, which was a tackle that I felt he didn’t need to do. Vardy got a yellow for a similar challenge on Mata, but if there’s one talking point, it’d be towards the end of the match where Ahmed Musa and the rest of the Foxes had strong reason to believe that there should’ve been a penalty. The ref only gave a corner, and effectively sealed the match for United.

Overall thoughts: Great pace and energy brought on from Leicester, a sentiment echoed by BTSport pundit Steve McManaman of Liverpool fame. Nemaplys Mendy (the answer to N’Golo Kanté) was solid and he looks to be a shrewd signing from Steve Walsh, who departed for Everton. Another newcomer in Ahmed Musa had a great chance to get a goal from a header, but skied it; overall, he was great on the pitch and definitely injected some pace in the squad. Finally, how about that challenge from Bailly on Gray (#BeastMode).

Until next time folks,
Kelvin P

France vs. Portugal: UEFA Euro 2016 Final Review

I’m just going to get this off my chest right now: As a French national team supporter, I’m gutted that they didn’t win this match. This was, on paper, meant to be a one-way dance, with France dominating everything from possession to the number of moths that inhabited the pitch at Parc des Princes in Paris. I’m also a Chelsea FC supporter, so the colour blue basically runs in my blood.

FIRST HALF:

Much of what I saw in the first half of this game was France dominating Portugal’s defence, with some impressive trickery like nutmegs and Cruyff turns running amok. There were also lots of opportunities for France to hit the back of the net (Griezmann’s missed header the first that came to mind), but didn’t convert. It was a lot of possession-based football, which, unless your name is Louis van Gaal, is something that would bore anybody and their dog. Portugal did have some chances, but, like their opposition, found themselves unable to materialize and make the most of their opportunities. Oh, and Ronaldo got injured and had a moth on his face for the majority of the time he was down.

SECOND HALF:

This was, in my opinion, the part of the match where the goalkeepers were the MVPs. Rui Patricio (Portugal) and Hugo Lloris (France) produced world-class saves that guys like Gigi Buffon and David de Gea would be proud of. But, like the first half, there really wasn’t much action.

EXTRA TIME:

I’ll never forget this part of the match, for I was sitting among a sea of Portuguese fans in a sports bar when Eder, of all people, scored the decisive goal. Being one of few French supporters, the moment was a hard pill to swallow. Many years on, we’ll look back at this moment and realize that Eder is to the 2016 Euros what Mario Gotze was to the 2014 World Cup; clutch, decisive, and perhaps, a bit lucky.

If there’s one person I feel super bad for, it’s Antoine Griezmann. I think he’s one of the best strikers for club and country, but having lost the Champions League final AND the finals of the Euros to Ronaldo is about as good as seeing a teacher you hate both in school and chatting with your mom in a supermarket.

By all accounts, this was a boring game (dare I say, one of the worst finals at a major tournament), but fair play to Portugal for winning this tournament. Even if Ronaldo didn’t do anything…

Until next time folks,
Kelvin P