English Premiership

Five things we learnt from the Community Shield

2016-08-07 19:47
Jose Mourinho (Gallo Images)

London - Manchester United beat Leicester 2-1 in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday. We look at five things we learnt from the annual curtain raiser to the English top-flight season.

Pogba deal essential for United

United's lengthy courtship of Paul Pogba appears to be reaching a successful conclusion and the France star can't arrive soon enough on the evidence of the pedestrian efforts of Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in central midfield.

United confirmed before kick-off that Pogba had been given permission to have a medical ahead of a reported world record transfer from Juventus and it was easy to see why boss Jose Mourinho was willing to break the bank to bring the midfield dynamo back to Old Trafford four years after he moved to Italy.

Carrick was composed on the ball as ever, but had little real influence on proceedings, while Fellaini was totally miscast as a deep-lying midfielder, with his mistake for Leicester's equaliser typical of his star-crossed time with United.

Ibrahimovic steals the spotlight

Never shy of blowing his own trumpet, Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims winning silverware in his first season at United will be a piece of cake and the serial trophy collector produced an impressive statement of intent with his late winner.

At 34, the ex-Sweden forward is in the twilight of his glittering career, but he has always had a keen eye for the spotlight and, after a generally quiet competitive debut, the former Paris Saint-Germain star underlined his value to United in the 83rd minute when he towered above hulking defender Wes Morgan to guide a superb header into the far corner.

Vardy back in the groove

Jamie Vardy says his life has been "carnage" since the end of last season as the Leicester striker comes to terms with his newfound celebrity and he looked relieved to be able to get back to focusing on football in a lively performance.

The 29-year-old carried a constant threat and equalised in typically predatory fashion in the 52nd minute when he pounced on Fellaini's woeful backpass, rounded David de Gea and slotted into the empty net.

Vardy's haul of 24 league goals last season fired Leicester to the title and the sight of the forward back scoring in a blue shirt following his close-season decision to snub a move to Arsenal suggests his meteoric rise isn't over yet.

Promising start for Bailly

Determined to shore up United's sometimes error-prone defence, Mourinho turned to Ivory Coast centre-back Eric Bailly, a 30 million signing from Villarreal, and the 22-year-old made a good first impression against Leicester's rugged forwards.

More mobile and aggressive than Chris Smalling and Daley Blind, United's first choice centre-backs for much of last season, Bailly snuffed out a series of potentially dangerous situations in a no-nonsense manner that will have reassured Mourinho he has invested wisely.

Kante already missed

While 10 of the 11 regulars who helped Leicester win the Premier League were in the starting line-up, the one who was missing -- N'Golo Kante -- already looks a significant loss.

Kante was the heart and soul of Leicester's shock title triumph with his one-man wrecking ball displays in central midfield, a tour de force that convinced Chelsea to sign the France international for 30 million.

Andy King was Kante's replacement at Wembley and the Welshman's limitations were laid bare as Leicester were largely unable to recreate the relentless tempo that carried them to the title.

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30 September 2016
Everton v Crystal Palace, Goodison Park 21:00
01 October 2016
Swansea City v Liverpool, Liberty Stadium 13:30
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